Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
We start this chapter with traditions vs. what Jesus came to do- free people from tradition and man made rules and reconcile them to our Father. Traditions can be good, but when they become a part of religion, those who are in power can use the traditions to ‘make or break’ people religiously as the pharisees did, and rulers throughout history have also done. It keeps the people beholden to those in power in the church but worse can take the chance away from the people to have a real and lasting relationship with God.
How much does vain worship go on, from the early days as the Israelites offered their sacrifices and made flowery speech towards God while inside they festered with pride, anger, hate and envy. It’s another tradition that has and still does go on. It makes me think of the admonition of the pastor before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, to search our hearts and if there is anything between us and God, it’s best to seek forgiveness before taking the bread of Christ.
Jesus reiterates here that while outward appearances often seem so good and righteous, the inward heart is wicked and full of sin. There’s only one cure for sin and that’s sacrifice and repentance. People have long offered the sacrifice, especially those which God abhors,but ignores the repentance of their own hearts. Since Jesus came as the sacrifice for the world, we don’t even have to offer our own anymore- yet we still ignore His and repentance. It matters nothing of the looks on the outside or things done out loud- because no matter how proud and lofty a person acts, God knows the heart already.
Again we also find Jesus leaving a place where He was known for a place where He was not known. It’s said He went into a house, and have no one know it. But even here, among gentiles He was not alone, for a woman found Him even there. And as we saw in the Chapter of Matthew, this is a favorite story, but one I didn’t understand at first, and found kind of harsh. That Jesus would remind the woman that He hadn’t come for gentiles, but Jews, and it wasn’t right to take what wasn’t offered. And yet by her simple and sincere faith answer, He was touched and healed her daughter. Again- she showed more faith and trust in Him than those who knew Him. She blessed Him in that honest answer: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
Jesus had come and done what He came for here, and so returned towards Galilee, yet kept on going to the other side of the Jordan. That must have been a heck of a travel time to go all that distance, yet it seems that Jesus always goes where He is needed.
He still does that. He’s always there when we need Him.
The last part of this chapter, some times I don’t understand the way He heals someone. He put his fingers in the man’s ears, spit and then put his finger on the man’s tongue. That seems odd and kind of gross when we look at it at face value. But what does it all mean? To everything there is a purpose, even Jesus’ unusual ways of healing a deaf/mute.
Jesus looks up to His Father, praises Him, showing the healing is divine, and then using His own body, heals the man. Just as Jesus used His own body to offer healing from sin and death, Jesus alone heals.
Simple. Ephphatha. Be Opened. Those that have ears, let them hear. And understand.
Jesus again asks that they keep quiet, and again, they spread it far and wide. Jesus’s healing miracles were known of, and seen, and yet still, how many would have believed in His message if He hadn’t have done outward wonders? Do we really have ears to hear, or just want to see the cool things He does?
This kind of makes me think of the song I posted for Sunday’s spotlight, people need to seek the healer, not the healing, because He is so much more, and wholly heals what we really need healed.
Sooo much more!!
Have a blessed Wednesday all!