Matthew Chapter 15
Jesus teaches about Inner Purity:
(Read Matthew 15:1-20)
Pharisees accused Jesus that his disciples ignored the tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat. God's law never said that people should wash their hands before they eat. There were 613 rules added to the law by Jewish leaders. 365 of them are negative and 248 are positive rules. The Pharisees were not content with ten commandments. These are man-made traditions and rules based on human wisdom. Jesus said, “Their tradition had blinded them even to disobey God’s clear command to honor their parents”. They said, “You don’t need to support your parents if you give the money to the temple”. But they continued to enjoy the benefits of money (Matthew 15:3-6). By their tradition they became hypocrites as prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 29:13). They honored God with their lips, but their heart was far from God. Their worship was only lip-service. Few things are more harmful than the forms of worship where there is no love for God. Without inner spiritual transformation people can be self-deceived. They can lead others astray as well. When the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a pit. Peter asks for the explanation of that saying. Jesus said, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person" (Matthew 15:18). Eating with unwashed hands does not defile anyone. We must set our affection on Christ and replace our sinful motives with godly desires. Only God's word exposes our sinful motives. We must replace them with godly desires.
The Faith of a Gentile Woman:
(Read Matthew 15:21-39)
Following the rejection of Pharisees, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. This is the only time Jesus went outside the boundaries of Palestine. A Canaanite woman came to Jesus, pleading “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely tormented by a demon”. To test her faith Jesus said to her “I was sent only to help the people of Israel”. When Jesus saw her faith, he had compassion toward her and healed her daughter. Jesus is the Savior of the world. The gospel is the good news to everyone. It does not make any distinction between people based on ethnicity or social status. Christians are called to demonstrate the same attitude. We should overcome the barriers that hinder the advancement of the gospel of Christ. Following this incident Jesus performed the miracle of feeding a crowd of 4000 men, plus women and children. It was largely a non-Jewish region near the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had compassion on the people and did not want to send them away. He fed them miraculously with seven loaves and few fishes. The crowd was fully satisfied. And when the left over was picked up, there were seven baskets full of them. Jesus also healed the sick. The crowd marveled at his miracles and gave glory to God (Matthew 15:30-31). Jesus welcomes all who are willing to come to him. Christians should have Christ-like compassion towards lost souls. Jesus is able and willing to meet our spiritual and physical needs. Only Jesus brings lasting satisfaction in lives. Ask God to give you a Christlike compassion toward lost souls?