Matthew 15

Vs. 8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Jesus is quoting Isaiah when he is talking about the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law.  They came to Jesus accusing him and his disciples for not obeying the oral law that had been handed down generation upon generation (vs. 1-9)  Though cleansing hands were not part of the Law, their tradition was now at or even above God’s law.  Jesus, knowing their hypocrisy retorts back with an accusation of his own concerning honoring their parents.  To honor your parents were to support them, however, they were taking things of value in their home and “dedicating” it to God…thereby, not having to give those up for supporting their parents.  They were more concerned about washing hands than taking care of loved ones.  This all goes back to the condition of our hearts (vs. 10-20).  The faith of the Canaanite woman is remarkable because she was not only persistent, but during her efforts…she began to realize who Jesus really was.  We may think Jesus was harsh in this response, but he did this as a test for her and a lesson for us.  She was willing to eat the crumbs like a dog.  The Bread is Jesus, the Children is Israel and the dogs are the Gentiles (vs. 26).  Yet, the children of Israel were not even close to accepting the Bread of Life and she was willing to eat the crumbs.  And lastly, we look at the feeding of the 4000 (vs. 29-39).  Some have stated that this was the same event from the feeding of 5000, but it was different.  The disciples lack of faith/remembering regarding the feeding miracle also could be attributed to the fact that this crowd was largely Gentile and perhaps they didn’t believe Jesus would have done such a thing.  Besides, how many times in our lives has God done something and then the next week we lack faith?

 

Regarding application…Being Offensive.  Vs. 12, “Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”  Basically Jesus responds with a “So what?”  They are blind!  Let me preface this application with the fact that we must be wise in all that we do and how we represent Christ.  But we must also have tough skin.  When you decide to walk with God, people will be offended and you will be accused.  Accused of being a hypocrite, accused of being self-righteous, judgemental, etc.  Yet, Jesus would give us the reminder that we are not to be afraid.  We are to stand up against the injustices of this world and reach out the love of Christ.  Desiring love and acceptance from the world is hatred towards God.  So, I implore each of us to be more offensive in this life.  It’s okay if people don’t like you if you stand up for truth!