Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. Which made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people – even eating with them!
Here’s the problem with religion that only goes skin deep – see the establishment of the temple priest and the cohorts had all the flash and no substance, dressed in robes and playing the part of holy and righteous men, but offering nothing of any real value… but Jesus was different, a genuine article… when Jesus spoke the people heard God!
The Pharisees and Sanhedrin preached a message that only brought polish and shine to the outer man; with religious dress and royal robes they barely scratched the surface. They certainly never promoted a culture of individual holiness that would threaten the power base that had lined their pockets – a clue to why they had to destroy the start-up rabbi that captured the hearts of the people; when He spoke people followed.
Our surface can only really shine when our Christianity is lived out of our heart and our soul, where scripture says the issues of life flow. In fact the NLT goes so far as to say ‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’ Proverbs 4:23.
Religion that only goes skin deep doesn’t change you; it just ensures that you feel good on Sundays.