Matthew 15:1-20, June 25
Jesus is teaching and has the Pharisees and scribes question Him. Their motive was not really to gain information but it was a question that was intended to catch, judge, and shame Jesus. Rather than directly responding to this question, Jesus points to their failure to obey God’s commandments. While they obey the letter of the Law, they violate it in their hearts. Jesus then refers to Isaiah 29:13, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” This is the background for his teaching on the heart.
Matthew 15:12-20 is where we find Jesus giving another parable and then interpreting the meaning to his disciples. In essence, Jesus is teaching that what comes into our body does not spoil us, spiritually. Rather, our words and our actions are evidence of what is already spoiled in our hearts. I was again reminded of the physical aspects of a damaged heart. It cannot be repaired except by someone skilled and trained, and appointed, to cut into us and repair that heart. Likewise, Jesus reveals that an untreated heart is spoiled. What we think, how we perceive and interpret things, and all of our behaviors come from the heart of us. God is the only One that can repair that heart, and he made that way through his Son, Jesus. Right now it is popular to refer to Jesus as the “Way-Maker,” and that he is. He made it possible for us to be in a relationship with a Holy God and be restored as children of God. But it is also he that is the “Heart-Changer” and so he makes it possible for this spoiled heart to speak and act in ways that please God. The question for me is what kind of heart my actions reveal. Do I have a Pharisee's heart or a heart that has been surgically repaired by Jesus and so it reflects the heart of God?