Saturday, August 19, 2017

Matthew 15:10-28

In response to the Pharisees and religious lawyers who had criticized Jesus’s apprentices for the lax manner in which they practiced the extra-biblical religious ritual of ceremonial washing before eating, Jesus called out to the nearby crowd and said, “Listen up and let this sink in. 11 God does not consider someone to be spiritually contaminated by what goes into his or her the mouth. No! It’s the vomit that comes out of the mouth that contaminates.”

12 Then the apprentices moved in close to advise Jesus, saying, “You realize, of course, that you just insulted the Pharisees.”

13-14 Jesus replied, “Don’t worry about the Pharisees. Every plant in the field that was not planted by my heavenly Father will be pulled up. The Pharisees don’t get it. They’re blind-as-bats people guiding the blind. But what happens if a blind person leads another blind person?

“Exactly! They both end up in a ditch.”

15 Peter responded with a big, “Huh?” And added, “What do you mean?”

16 Jesus replied, “You still don’t understand? 17 Think of it this way. What you put into your mouth makes its way through your stomach and then eventually ends up in the sewer. 18 However, that which goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And as far as God is concerned, it’s the puke from the mouth (and related mess) that is disgusting -- 19 evil ideas, insults, murder, marital unfaithfulness, vulgarity, stealing, and lying. These toxins originate in the heart 20 and they are the words and actions that contaminate a person in God’s sight. But, as God sees things, eating without a ritual hand washing doesn’t hurt anyone.”

21 From there, Jesus traveled on to the Gentile regions of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that area approached Jesus shouting, “Show me mercy, Son of David. An evil spirit is tormenting my daughter. It has taken over her life.” 23 But Jesus appeared deaf to the shouting woman.

His apprentices came and advised him, “You need to do something about this woman. Her incessant shouting is going to drive us crazy.”

24 Jesus replied to the apprentices, “My mission is to reach God’s lost sheep -- the people of Israel.”

25 But then she was kneeling in front of him begging, “Lord, you’ve got to help me.”

26 Finally, Jesus replied, “It is not right to take food from the children and toss it to the house pets.”

27 “Of course, Lord.” the woman replied, “But the puppies get to eat the scraps brushed from their masters’ table.”

28 “Wow!” Jesus answered, “Ma’am, you are a woman of great faith. I’ll do as you ask.”

And right then, at that very moment, her daughter was healed.