May 10

Text: Matthew 15:10, 11

And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear, and understand.  Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." (NASB)

How do you interpret what you see?  You do—constantly!  Some things you see do not deserve a second thought.  Your neighbor should park his car in his driveway!  Or enter his house!  Or tend his yard!

Some things you see shock you—like a “teetotaler” friend going in a liquor store, or a Sunday school teacher having a discussion with a known addict, or your minister in an intense conversation with a congregational leader.  What does what you see mean?

Jesus had a public confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem!  These were the good guys from the place.  They championed returning to the old ways.  They resisted influences wanting to “up-date” Judaism.

Of all things, Jesus and these men disagreed about (1) the concept of purity and (2) how you expressed  devotion to purity.  Ironically, Jesus seemed to be on the “wrong” side.  Everyone knew that the rite of washing hands was a good, beneficial rite.  What was Jesus saying?  What did it mean?

Note how Jesus handled this circumstance.  First, he called the multitude to him.  Evidently they were listening witnesses, but not participants. 

Second, he affirmed he wanted them to understand.  They were important!  He did not belittle their ability to comprehend such matters.

Third, Jesus plainly affirmed what was at the core of the disagreement.  He told them, “What enters the mouth does not make a person pure or impure; what a person says makes him pure or impure.”

That was a new concept of purity!  Purity involved more than external practices!  It took more than ceremonially washed hands to produce purity.

Suggestion for reflection: What is your concept of purity?  (Read Acts 10:9-20; 28, 29; 34, 35.)

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