Matthew – Fulfilled.
Lawmakers can change a law, trying to solve human perceptions of injustice, but a law cannot change the heart and attitude, prejudices and habits of a people. Only God can do that work in hearts when we allow Him. Jesus reveals the truth with the bottomline of the intent of God’s laws to care and protect us and keep us focused on Him.
It is interesting to read and imagine the popularity of Jesus growing exponentially over the countryside. It has now drawn the attention of the “big wigs” in Jerusalem. They get off their man-made thrones of religiousity and make their way through mankind to get to Jesus, literally and figuratively. They finally get to Jesus, but they don’t get Jesus. He is not impressed with their handling of God’s law and they are not impressed with Truth.
Matthew 15, The Message
What Pollutes Your Life
15 1-2 After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”
3-9 But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”
10-11 He then called the crowd together and said, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.”
12 Later his disciples came and told him, “Did you know how upset the Pharisees were when they heard what you said?”
13-14 Jesus shrugged it off. “Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.”
15 Peter said, “I don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
16-20 Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”
What do we learn?
–Jesus answers the religious leaders’ question with a question that reveals the real meaning of God’s law. What might Jesus be asking us?
–Are we ignoring evaluating our own worship of religious traditions versus deepening our relationship with God and the love of others…like He loves us?
–Are we being willfully stupid?
–Do we need a heart check up? What does our attitudes and behaviors tell about our heart?
–Go to prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth about what is being stored in our hearts. “From the heart…” reveals our true character.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed is Your Name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! Reveal yourself to us. May Your Kingdom thinking be instileed in our minds and hearts, changing our attitudes to behave more like you taught us. Give us wisdom to know Your will. Show us, even this day, your glory and power. Forgive us our sins of holding grudes of past offenses from others. Help us to forgive and forget like you do for us. Save us. Help us to be gracious, loving and kind. Lead and guide us with wisdom to avoid temptations that will take our focus from You. For with You is all power. Nothing is too hard for You. So that’s why we trust You for all things. To You be all glory, honor and praise. We worship You and You alone.
In Jesus Name, Amen