21 January 2014

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 15

This chapter depicts three distinct moments during Jesus’ ministry. And these three moments can be summed up in three words.

Hypocrisy is when our behavior doesn’t line up with our beliefs. Jesus had left Israel, but the Pharisees traveled at least 80 miles to ask Jesus why His disciples break the tradition of the elders. This was not a hygiene issue but a tradition issue. The Pharisees (and others) had added their own laws to God’s original laws. These people thought the laws would “help” the Jews be more obedient to God’s laws. But instead they were putting tradition above God’s Word.

The Pharisees were hypocrites themselves. They claimed to follow God’s command to honor their parents. But instead they were being selfish. They said they dedicated money to God, but they were using it as an excuse not to care for their parents.

Tradition is external, ritual, sometimes produces empty words and can cause you to miss the truth of God’s Word. God’s truth is internal, reality and should penetrate our hearts and change our lives.

Placing man’s teaching over God’s Word creates self-centeredness, self-righteousness and the need to serve ourselves.

Next, a Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. She knows Jesus is the only one who could help her. She approaches Him as a Jewish person because she called Him the Son of David. She recognizes Him as the Messiah. She even kneels before Him.

Jesus tells her that He first came for the Jews and later for her (a Gentile). She demonstrates her faith that she would be saved by pursuing Christ. She did not give up. Jesus recognizes the woman’s faith and immediately heals her daughter.

The woman recognized who Jesus was, placed herself in the proper position, humbly approached Jesus and pursued Him until He helped her.

Last week we saw Jesus feed 5,000 Jewish men (plus women and children) with five loaves and bread and two fish. This wee, Jesus feeds 4,000 Gentile men (plus women and children) with seven loaves and a few fish.

What is amazing is that the group of Gentiles recognizes that Jesus is God’s Son. They worship Him as the Messiah.

Things to Think About
  • Do I put tradition above God’s Word?
  • We can hide our hearts from everyone except God.
  • Will I stop the hypocrisy in my life? Will I repent from the traditions that have led to self-centeredness, self-righteousness and self-serving? Will I ask the Holy Spirit to create a new heart in me?
  • How often do I persistently pursue an answer from Jesus?
  • Which situation am I humbly and persistently bringing to Jesus through prayer?
  • Jesus has compassion for all humanity. Do I show compassion for all humanity?