Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 15

One of the many things that I admire in Jesus is His lack of fear when it comes to speaking out against those in authority. Most people, when they are chastised by one in authority, tend to cower away. Jesus, however, was not most men. Here in chapter 15 of Matthew we see Him speaking out against the Pharisees once again when they called him on His disciples being unclean. As usual, the Pharisees were trying to make a point and defend their own traditions in the face of God. They felt it was more important to hold on to one tradition than to change because God wanted them to change their hearts. In the discussion about being unclean, Jesus sets them straight.

10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. 11What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "

 12Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"

 13He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

 15Peter 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? 18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' " – Matthew 15:10-20

This is another parable, but it is a very important one because of its message. It was a radical idea at the time that nothing consumed could make one unclean. Jewish law had literally hundreds of things that were condemned as "unclean", but Jesus came to change the law and set up a new covenant in Him. Because of that covenant, it is what is in our hearts that determines our cleanliness in regards to God. Our hearts are a reflection of our character. Therefore, whatever comes out of our mouths is what is on our heart. If we have Christ in our hearts, we have nothing to fear because we are clean. If not, however, we are lost and fallen.

The rest of the chapter deals with another miracle of faith and with Jesus feeding more people miraculously. These are both lessons that we touched on in chapter 14, so they are here as reinforcement of the previous message. This reinforcement is not only for our case, but for the people Jesus was preaching to as well. The important part of this chapter is the parable on uncleanliness. It is what is in the heart that matters most.


  1. Is it still possible to have an unclean heart and mouth even with Jesus in your heart?
  2. Is it possible to not be tainted by what we consume?
  3. How does the consumption of popular culture play in this?

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