Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 62
Matthew:15:1-20 Clean and Unclean
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:14:22-36 Jesus Walks on the Water
(also so see nkjv@Mark:1-7:23)
What is God doing?
"For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death".
It is a long way to come from Jerusalem just to find fault with the Savior, especially with such a lame argument as the tradition of the elders. The traditions of the elders, as important as they were made out to be, were riddled with holes and inconsistencies that most every common person would be well aware of, having themselves been effected by these questionable practices on multiple occasions.
"Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding"?
In His attempt to answer for the offending hand washing technique Jesus also reproves Peter for his lack of understanding. There is no parable to unravel here, the understanding is as plain as food going in the mouth and words coming out. Food eaten with dirty hands in no respect equates or supersedes words and vows such as those that keep elderly parents from the care God's Law requires of able bodied adult children. This is in no way to make lite of proper sanitation and etiquette, but to put the two contrasting offenses in proper perspective. The one far out weighs the other and worse tarnishes the people's perception of God's Law and the temple. It should be plain to see which one of the two offenses the more injurious is needing to be.
What is man doing?
"Ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me"
At issue today is a practice called dict:all Corban , dedicating personal possessions to the temple. While gifting/vowing property/crop/finances/possessions/etc to the temple is a scriptural thing (nkjv@Leviticus:27 nkjv@Numbers:30), in this case it was frequently being used to keep these items/support from one's elderly parents. The possession could be kept by the son or daughter for a length of time, but could not be used for anything other as it was now dedicated only to the temple. This would make one look pious before the elders and community, but could literally leave one's parents out in the cold or worse.
"Ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition".
Traditions often become hiding places. Soon they replace the commandment that they were first intended to observe. Commands must be interpreted and made into practical application and there lays the problem as the human heart corrupts all things in various ways. It is not proof of the weakness of the Law but proof of the weakness of man. "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men"
"Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying"?
The original question is not completely answered, why does Jesus allow the disciples to eat with unwashed hands? It is a question to consider when we today are upbraided for not holding to the legalistic expectations of the "thou shall not" crowd. Besides, what should it matter to the disciples that the Pharisees were offended? God is offended too!
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me".
People will go out of their way to come and accuse the saints. There is not a saint out there without plenty of accusation thrown at them by the ultra religious thugs. There is a great deal of public support for them as well. We should not be offended that they are offended, we should be offended that God's commandment is being made for not.
The issues falsely made can become confusing to us as our perceived injury skews the proper perspective of two contrasting intents and masks the underlying abuses. Size and perspective have everything to do in these matters. So I eat and get sick, that effects me. So you deprive your parents of their proper care by twisting God's word and the elders pat you on the back for it. That effects other's perceptions of God.
Fault can be found in most everything. That does not mean that faults stand equal ground one to another. Worship is not in finding other's faults as many make it. Nearness is not found in keeping one's self far above it. Nearness is found in truthfulness and longing, a heart contrite and grace receiving. The one always finding fault has many faults within yet to be found.
Next: devotion:Matthew:15:21-28 The Faith of the Canaanite Woman