Tuesday 8 March 2022

Matthew 15:1-20

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Well who wants to hear these words of Jesus, “This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”.

We love some of Jesus words and then we gloss over others, particularly those words that may be difficult to understand or sometimes simply don’t fit with our preferred view of Jesus.  Yet here He is, saying some hard truths.

So what do I do with this? I need to listen; I need to let these words chasten my heart.  Where do I give Jesus lip service?  Is it to do with the way I treat others the way I speak about others, or the sin I turn a blind eye to because, let’s face it, I like my sin, just as you do yours. I wouldn’t get trapped in its snare if it were not a temptation to me!

So let’s get bold, let’s get obedient. Where are you honouring Jesus with your lips but, in truth, your heart is far from Him? Where are you more reliant on the opinions of men than on God’s Word?  As I ask that question, various things come to mind that I recognise may be a snare to me!

Father, give me the grace of repentance that I may change and follow you unencumbered by the opinions of men and women and truly following your Word, will and ways.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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