That Which Defiles
15 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’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 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.’[c]”
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.[d] 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.”
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
Once again, Jesus challenges the law. Not challenging having the law, but the heart of what the law is getting at. Jesus once again explains it’s what is in our heart that matters, not that we followed every rule to the letter. Our mouth can reveal very quickly what is in our heart, but dirty hands are just dirty hands. For those who teach and follow the law without understanding this, this would be very upsetting because Jesus is essentially telling them what they are doing is pointless.
The Canaanite women is an interesting story. She is not an Isrealite and Jesus ignores her while she is crying out for help, stating He came only for the lost sheep of Isreal. But I think Jesus was just testing her sincerity and faith. She stopped Him and pleaded with Him for help. He says how can He give the dogs the children’s bread. In other words, I can’t give to you gentiles, what the Father has appointed for His chosen people. Once again, He refers to the gentiles as dogs. This could have discouraged the woman, but her persistence showed what was in her heart. She believed Jesus was Lord and was happy with whatever she could get from Him, satisfied with crumbs, as she put it. Her strong faith healed her daughter.
So the disciples, literally in the previous chapter saw Jesus feed 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and they ask the unbelievable question again about how they would feed these 4000 people. How quickly we forget. lol. What really caught my attention was the fact that they had already been there 3 days. Wow, and we get anxious when the sermon goes 15 minutes longer on Sunday. 🙂 I think there is another great lesson here, Jesus fed their souls first, but wanted to take care of their physical well being also. In His own words, He had compassion on them.
We no longer have to settle for the crumbs. God gave us the blessing to be called His children. We have unlimited access to all God has for His people. For me, it is remembering today that I should not take that for granted. Reading and prayer are a privilege, not a chore.
Forgive me Lord when devotions and prayer feel like a chore. It is a blessing to have such incredible access to You, thank you for calling us your children. You are a good Father who gives only good things to us. Your Word is lamp for my feet, a light on my path. In Jesus name, amen