October 15th, 2006
In most situations, what you say is more important than what you think. When the police officer stops you to give you a speeding fine, it is better to be polite than to say what you really think. When you sit for an exam, you get marked on the quality of what you write, not on the quality of what you might have been thinking. But in the context of a relationship, you can’t get away with passionless statements. It’s easy for the other person to tell if you don’t believe in your heart what you say with your mouth. It’s like that with God.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 15
15:1 Then Pharisees and religious lawyers came to Jesus from Jerusalem saying, 15:2 “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands when they eat bread.”
15:3 He answered, “Why do you use your tradition as a pretext for disobeying the commandment of God? 15:4 God commanded, ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother should be executed.’ 15:5 But you say, ‘Whoever tells a father or mother, “I have given a gift to God instead of repaying what I owe you,” 15:6 does not need to honour the father or mother.’ You have used your tradition to cancel the commandment of God. 15:7 Hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he predicted: 15:8 ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine rules made by men.'”
15:10 He called the crowd and said, “Listen and understand. 15:11 People aren’t polluted by what goes into their mouths. They’re polluted by what comes out of their mouths.” 15:12 Then the disciples came to him and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what they heard?” 15:13 But he answered, “Every plant which my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled out. 15:14 Leave them alone. They are blind guides for blind people. If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a ditch.”
15:15 Peter answered, “Explain the parable to us.” 15:16 So Jesus said, “Are you also slow to learn? 15:17 Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and then out of the body? 15:18 But things that come out of the mouth flow from the heart, and they pollute the person. 15:19 Out of the heart flow evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, lies, and blasphemies. 15:20 These are things which pollute someone; but eating with unwashed hands doesn’t pollute you.”
15:21 Jesus left there, and retreated to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 15:22 A Canaanite woman from the area came and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!” 15:23 But he said nothing. His disciples begged him, “Send her away. She’s pestering us.” 15:24 He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 15:25 But she came and knelt down before him saying, “Lord help me.” 15:26 But he answered, “The children’s bread shouldn’t be taken and thrown to dogs.” 15:27 But she said, “Yes Lord, but even dogs eat crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 15:28 Then Jesus said, “Woman, you have great faith! What you have asked for will be done.” And her daughter was healed from that moment.
15:29 Jesus moved on from there towards the sea of Galilee. He climbed the mountain and sat there. 15:30 Large crowds came to him, bringing and placing at his feet people who were lame, blind, mute, and maimed, and many others. He healed them, 15:31 and the crowd were amazed when they saw mute people speaking, injured people made well, lame people walking, and blind people seeing; and they praised the God of Israel.
15:32 Jesus called his disciples, “I feel sorry for the crowd because they have been following me for three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry or they might faint on the way.”15:33 The disciples said, “Where would we find enough loaves in this deserted place to feed such a big crowd?” 15:34 Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”
15:35 He told the crowd to sit on the ground; 15:36 and he took the seven loaves and the fish. He gave thanks and broke them, and gave them to the disciples, who distributed them to the crowd. 15:37 They all ate until they were full. They took up seven baskets full of the left-overs. 15:38 Those who ate were four thousand men, not counting women and children. 15:39 Then he sent away the crowd, got into a boat, and went to the district of Magdala.
Entry Filed under: Legalism