Despite all these attestations of Jesus’ divine origin, the Jewish leaders remained hostile. Matthew 5:1 through 16:12 thus portrays Jesus turning from the Jews to the Gentiles, among whom He received a better welcome. In chapter 15, verses 1 through 20, Jesus had not left Israel geographically. Here he challenged all of the Jewish “kosher laws.”
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [It is] a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
As with the Sabbath, one cannot prove that He went beyond breaking the oral laws to infringing on the written Law of Moses, but verse 11 certainly sets the stage for this conclusion.
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
Food, as something that goes into people from the outside, could no longer ritually defile them. In chapter 15, verses 21 through 28, Jesus left Galilee for Syrophoenicia (the regions of Tyre and Sidon) and met a woman Matthew deliberately referred to as Caananite – an archiving label designed to conjure up horrors of Israel’s enemies of old. The woman admitted her secondary place in salvation history (Jesus was sent to the Jews first). But she nevertheless exemplified “great faith,” reminiscent of the Gentile centurion whose faith Jesus had said surpassed that of all He had found in Israel in chapter 8, verse 10.
“When Jesus heard [it], he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
So Jesus granted her request for her daughter’s healing. Even more dramatically, He reenacted the miracle of the loaves and fishes, this time with four thousand Gentile men and their families. Whereas many Jews had scoffed, these Gentiles “glorified the God of Israel,” particularly as Jesus again performed a host of healings.
References: Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor and Holy Bible, King James Version.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Tuesday, September 20
In our prayers: Jerry Callahan, Russ Meyne, April Goodwin, Laura Bushnell, Loretta M. in Cayce, Kody Oswald, Tina Bailey, Oliver Crawford, Edgar Maxwell, Laura Lou Roamans, Elizabeth Adams, Rootie Pope in Leesville, Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley, John Conde, Millie Husbands, Clyde Ireland, Sam King, Bob Whiteside, Chuck Witten, Lindsay Cathcart, Raven Tarpley, Elizabeth F., Steven and Janelle, William Alex McDaniels, Maddie Rosenthal, DuBose Tuller, Nancy, Doris C., Lynn in Camden, John in Forest Acres, Frances R., Chris Johansson in Blythewood
In memoriam: Christopher Byron Neal, Thomas Warren “Tommy” Chavis, Jerry K. Gordon, Michael Luther Coleman, Martha S. Holt, Elizabeth Marshall Hoefer
Our prayers are with: All victims of the Reno Air Show crash, Mandy and all beloved pets, our president and congress and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure LaneIn Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at in Columbia.
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