February 12 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 31
Today’s chapter has only 39 verses, somewhat short, but the context has so much to say. God is doing some pretty amazing things with this study. The discussions are great; I love seeing the diversity in the post and where God is leaning in. Continue to comment…I’m learning from you!
READ: Matthew 15
It’s easy for me to get and give an opinion of someone or something fairly quickly. I call it the gift of discernment. If I’m vocal, I may use my other caveat–I’m just adding salt. Either way, I’m not sure God always agrees (wink). For me, I have to work at using salt sparingly, because heaven knows, we have sharp tongues. I’d even go as far as to say women more so than men. I can learn so much from Jesus and how he handles these types of people and situations. So, on to these Pharisees that kick off the chapter. They are trying to tell Jesus “the way” with their traditions and laws that they are so caught up in. It’s easy for me to get annoyed, yell, and scream at my Bible and call them dummy heads for not getting it. That’s all in the privacy of my own home, but what do we do when we see someone, whom we know or not, who has a heart issue? Are you bold like Christ and simply state (vs. 3, 5 and 6) or do you go on as so not to offend? We know that Jesus asked yesterday in John 6:61 “Does this offend you?” And then today in verse 12, he was told he offended the Pharisees. Here were people who taught law, yet they considered that their traditions were more important than God’s commands. Jesus was tired of these Pharisees pretending to give things to God or act as they were way more righteous than they were. Jesus continues to teach (vs. 11) what goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean. He was trying to explain to them in this way…to be clean outside (the body), which they obsessed about, that it is the inside (the soul) that was actually what was filthy.
I made a connection; in verse 15, Peter (a Jew) is the one who is asking Jesus to explain the parable. He has heard it straight from Jesus’ mouth, the definition of clean and unclean. In the remainder of the chapter, he will see that Jesus will focus on healing and feeding people who have faith in Jesus, who are not Jewish. Peter will see with his own eyes that God loves EVERYONE. If you are familiar with Acts at all look at 10:14,15,28. Peter must have not paid attention to any of this, because he still struggled with accepting that the Gentiles are equally loved by God.
Moving forward, I don’t think that it is by accident that we just had the discussion of impurity. Jesus shaking the dust off of his feet, headed to the northern region, to towns most likely having non-Jewish people living there. A Canaanite woman came crying out to Jesus. The woman recognized that Jesus was no mere magician. Like John’s woman at the well (John 4:25-29), this Canaanite woman publicly acknowledged Jesus’ identity before the disciples who wished her to leave. She believed who he was and what he could do. Even though being tested by Jesus (vs. 24), this woman was bold and would not accept NO (in his healing) for an answer. In our culture we might consider this woman rude; I find her to be empowering. Her faith is overflowing.
The last few verses might cause some confusion. People often mistake this with Jesus feeding the 5000. They are surprisingly different. The 5000 people were Jewish, in a different town, and were fed right away. In this town, they were not Jewish and were fed after three days. When they saw the miracles, they praised the God of Israel, quite opposite of the Jews. We know that God loves and has compassion and wanted his disciples to witness this. Now we can see His love and salvation is for the whole world.
Lord, help me discern what is of You and not just my emotions. Let me be bold for You! Don’t let me accept things the way they are. Take me to uncomfortable places so others know about You, even if it offends. And let me discern just the right amount of salt.
Lord, You have been doing such a work in me this week. I had forgotten how to be bold for You. I fell into the complacent trap, believing those lies. You’ve moved in me. You’ve taken me to many uncomfortable places, which I am grateful for. Continue to use me as Your instrument as this story unfolds. Thank You for letting me, a filthy Gentile into Your Kingdom. Examine my heart; fix anything that is unclean.
In Your powerful, all-knowing, forgiving name…Amen!