It’s about the Heart: Pt 2 (Mt 15:1-28)
Yesterday we began discussing Jesus’ concern for our hearts as seen in His three discussions in this chapter, and looked at the first of those. Today, let’s look at the second two.
2. Matt. 15:12-20
By focusing on Peter, if we can put ourselves in his shoes, perhaps we can see how slow we are to learn the things of God. After reading the linked verses above, imagine how he probably discussed with the other disciples Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees. Jesus, the Rabbi or teacher, the disciples followed seemed to be a little ruthless and confrontational towards esteemed religious men who tried to discuss religious matters with Him. Shouldn’t He treat others with better respect and honor? What will become of them all if He continues to offend such influential figures who had the power to grant them standing in the society they lived in?
Peter finally decided that it would be good for them to remind Jesus of His inappropriate approach and its consequences. Even for the sake of peace, and their own welfare, perhaps Jesus could tune down his agitation a bit in the hope that everyone could enjoy peace?
But Jesus knew the truth of men’s hearts. These were blind leaders and His job was not to seek agreement or peace among them, but rather to bring the sword of Truth to cut them asunder and expose them. Such boldness which is out of a heart of love for the truth and life from the Father was obviously not yet found in Peter. So he was puzzled by Jesus when He defined the teachers he respected as blind and demonstrated their lack of standing in God. Even though we can look at what Jesus was teaching and see that it was straightforward, Peter and the disciples could not comprehend these teachings that flew in the face of the traditions they had grown up with.
So Jesus had to instruct him plainly…and interestingly the topic is about food not making a person unclean. Since Jesus instructed once publicly, and then twice privately, we would certainly think Peter got the message and was set free of this dogma. Surprisingly, this is not the case.
Later, in Acts 10, Peter was still holding dear to his being a law-abider and would not allow unclean food to enter his mouth and was still ignorant of the spiritual insight of what life in the Spirit means. It is not food that matters; it is the heart.
Do you cling to any religious dogma that you’ve always assumed is true Godly principles that lately you’ve wondered what the scriptural basis for it is?
3. Matt. 15:21-28
In this next conversation Jesus had with the Canaanite woman, he used food to teach about spiritual blessings.
Jesus was given the grace in His earthly ministry mainly for the Jews. The ministry unto Gentiles was given to His disciples, especially Paul. But here facing a Canaanite woman, whom He was not supposed to have any part with, He was moved by her heart of humility and eagerness to receive (her poor spirit as in Matt 5:3). He saw her hungry, desperate faith and was moved. He readily granted her request and her daughter was healed. She moved the heart of God into doing something that He was not planning on doing!
To sum up, we learned from these three conversations that Jesus, who is full of love and compassion, is ready to bless those who are eager to yield and enjoy a heart of humility and purity. But to the prideful and self-righteous, He is always ready to expose them.
How does this apply to you? What lesson we can learn?
1 Pe 5:5-6 [NIV]
5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
James 4:6-10 [NIV]
6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
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