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RMS Queen Mary (Attractive on the Outside)

(Holman New Testament Commentary, Romans, p. 90-92)  "Commissioned in 1936, the RMS Queen Mary was the most awe-inspiring ocean-going vessel in the world.  She was 1,019 feet long, at 81,237 tons displaced twice the tonnage of the Titanic, had 12 decks (the promenade deck was 724 feet long), and carried 1,957 passengers attended by a crew of 1,174.  Transformed from a luxury linter to a troop transport in World War II she carried 765,429 members of the military to and from the European war zones.  The Queen Mary was retired from regular passenger service in 1967 after making 1,001 Atlantic Ocean crossings, and is presently harbored in the port of Long Beach, California.  Even today, her magnificent and gleaming exterior cuts a beautiful profile against the blue waters of the Long Beach harbor.  But when the Queen Mary was retired from active passenger service, it was discovered that part of her gleaming exterior was hiding something far less attractive and substantial. 

            The Queen Mary's three elliptical smoke stacks?36 feel long, 23 feet wide, and ranging from 70 down to 62 feet in height-were made of sheets of steel over an inch thick.  During her decades of service, at least 30 coats of paint had been applied to the massive smokestacks, forming a shell around the steel interior.  But when the smokestacks were removed for maintenance after her decommissioning, it was discovered that they were nothing but shells.  When lifted off the liner and placed on the docks, they crumbled!  Over the years, the thick steel of which they had been made had turned to rust from long exposure to heat and moisture.  The beautiful exteriors of the smokestacks revealed a rusty, crumbly interior that spoke not of beauty and elegance but of deterioration and decay.  The external appearance was hiding the internal reality. . . .

            Jesus encountered a situation in Jerusalem where the same inconsistency seemed [was present].  The Pharisees lives had apparently become like the Queen Mary's smokestacks-gleaming on the outside, rusty on the inside.  "Hypocrites,? Jesus called them (Matt. -28).  They were like dishes that were polished until they shone on the outside, but inside had the grease and crumbs from yesterday's feast festering and attracting flies.  They were like the tombs outside the city wall that camouflaged the resting places of dead people's bones with coats of bright whitewash.  Gleaming on the outside, gruesome on the inside. . . .   Paul said the Jews, the most privileged people spiritually on earth, had become spiritually hypocritical.  And he said that God's name was being blasphemed among the Gentiles because of it (Rom. ). . . ." 

 "If the multiple coats of Sunday-go-to-meeting paint were stripped from us, would there be steel or rust underneath"'