Scripture: Matthew 15:10-20 [NLT]
Observation: (What do you see when you read this scripture)
Jesus is teaching multiple lessons. First, he starts with a lesson that the food that enters your body is not what defiles you but it is what comes out of the heart or mouth. The mouth is the “spokesman” for the heart. This lesson is taught as a response to the Pharisees attack on the disciples concerning the following of man made traditions. Again, Jesus is making a common teaching a matter of the heart and not a matter of outward show.
The disciples, also being concerned with outward appearance, tell Jesus that he may have just “offended” the Pharisees by what he just said. They may be feeling still that they need to gain the respect of the local leaders and influential people for their ministry to grow; they do not yet see Jesus’ true ministry.
Jesus next uses common judgement language by saying that any plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted. He is saying that the Pharisees will be judged like everyone else. Following this he speaks to them being blind guides leading the blind; both falling into a ditch because of it. Finally He explains to the disciples what He meant by not being defiled from what goes into your mouth but what comes out of it.
Application: (What have you learned and how can you apply it to your life?)
The overall lesson from Jesus here is clearly that spiritual matters are matters of the heart. This is where true spiritual battles are fought and then won or lost. He knows this. He is trying to lead his disciples and anyone else that is listening to this understanding. It is only through a heart change that we can be saved. Outward show only fools those who do not read the heart; God reads the heart. “Listen,” He said, “and try to understand.” Do you understand?
Secondly, I see a lesson here regarding listening to false teachers. Ignore them. Don’t give them your time or a foothold in your life. The disciples were afraid of offending the Pharisees. Maybe they even wanted Jesus to “tone it down”…but Jesus kept it a matter of the heart and a matter of truth. He was not willing to turn from His path; to turn from truth to avoid offending those who were blind teachers. Do we concern ourselves too much with how others might see us? Do we avoid “conflict” in order to “keep the peace” and in so doing never help anyone? Jesus made sure it was heard, even in the face of criticism and with no concern for how others might view him.
Prayer: (Let the Lord know what your thinking.)
Thank You Lord for Your love and for Your willingness to come down here and teach us. Thank You for bringing us back to truth. You have made Your Kingdom one that resides in the heart. It is YOUR Kingdom. Please build it in my heart. Change me from the inside, where it matters and where is can help others. Outward show is of no use to You or to me. Help me to seek to please You with my thoughts first.
Forgive me for having a sinful heart. Cleanse my heart of all unrighteousness and make me more like You.
Lord; my daughter, as you know, is in a pickle. She needs guidance and counsel. I ask that you can help her to make the right decisions in the weeks ahead. Help me and my wife to give her good counsel that will be pleasing to You.
Thank You for all that You provide. Thank You for listening to my prayers. Help me to share Your love with others. Amen.