THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
Matt. 15:1-20 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?4 “For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’5 “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 ‘then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, 1 And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:11 “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.14 “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?17 “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.20 “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
15:1-20 MISVAH VS TRADITION Then approaching toward Yah Shuaare the Pherisas and scribes of Uri Shelem, wording, Why are your disciples transgressing concerning the tradition of the elders and wash not their hands when they eat bread. And Yah Shua answers, wording to them Why also you transgress you concerning the misvah of God because of your tradition?For God, worded, Honor your father and mother: and, Who reviles his father and his mother, in deathifying, deathify him. And you — you word, All who word to his father or his mother,A qurbana — by whatever you profit by me: and then he honors not his father or his mother — and you nulify the word of God because of own your tradition. Exodus 20:12; 21:17 Hypocrizing hypocrites, Yesha Yah prophesies well concerning you, wording, This people honor me with their lips and their heart is very far from me: and vainly they awe me, when bringing the doctrines of the misvoth of the sons of humanity. Yesha Yah 29:13 And he calls the congregation and words to them, Hear and understand: not that entering the mouth abominates the sons of humanity: but that going from the mouth that abominates the sons of humanity. Then his disciples approach and word to him, Know you that the Pherisas who hear these words are offended? And he answers, wording to them, Every plant which is not planted by my Father in the heavens uproots. Forsake them: they are blind guides of the blind: and if the blind guide the blind the two fall into the ditch. So Shimun Kepha answers, wording to him, My Lord, clarify to us this parable.
ENTERING THE MOUTH VS FROM THE MOUTH And he words to them, until now also you — understand you not? Know you not whatever enters the mouth goes to the belly and from there the excrement is cast outside? And whatever goes from the mouth goes from the heart and this abominates the sons humanity.
FROM THE HEART VS FROM THE MOUTH
For from the heart they go evil reasonings — murder, adultery, whoredom, theft, false witness, blasphemy
— these abominate the sons of humanity: and if humanity eats when not washing hands he abominates not. Aramaic NC
JESUS STRIKES OUT AGAINST THE PHARISEE, THE FOCUS OF HIS TEACHINGS.
Disciples still didn’t understand.
JESUS CORRECTS THE PHARISEES AND MINISTERS TO GENTILES
A. Jesus denounces religious externalism.
1. (1-2) Leaders from Jerusalem question Jesus.
a. Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? These ceremonial washings were commanded by tradition, not by Scripture. The religious leaders say as much when they refer to the tradition of the elders and not the commandment of God.
1). The elders here are not the living rulers of the people, but the past bearers of religious authority, the more remote the more venerable.
b. They do not wash their hands when they eat bread: The matter in question had nothing to do with good hygiene. The religious officials were offended that the disciples did not observe the rigid, extensive rituals for washing before meals.
1). Many ancient Jews took this tradition of the elders very seriously. “The Jewish Rabbi Jose saith, He sins as much who eats with unwashed hands, as he that lies with a harlot.
2. (3) Jesus answers with a question setting man’s tradition against God’s will.
a. Why do you also transgress the commandment of God: When the disciples were accused of sin, Jesus answered with an accusation. Jesus was strong in His reply because these leaders were far too concerned with these ceremonial trivialities and customs. When they declared people unclean because of their tradition, they denied the people access to God.
1). This was a strong reply from Jesus. Ultimately, these conflicts with the religious leaders became the outward reason why Jesus was delivered to the Romans for death.
b. Because of your tradition: Jesus repeated what the scribes and Pharisees had already mentioned – that this accusation was based on tradition. The religious leaders demanded these ceremonial washings based on tradition, not the Scriptures.
3. (4-6) An example of how their traditions dishonored God: the practice of not helping your parents with resources said to be devoted to God.
a. Honor your father and mother: The clear command of God said that everyone should give honor to their father and mother – even stating a penalty for extreme disobedience to this command. When we are adults and no longer in our parents’ household or under their authority, we no longer have to obey our father and mother. Yet we are still commanded to honor them; that command endures.
Ex. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Eph.6:2 Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.
b. Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God: Some Jewish people of Jesus’ day had a way to get around the command to honor your father and mother. If they declared that all their possessions or savings were a gift to God that were especially dedicated to Him, they could then say that their resources were unavailable to help their parents.
1). Our Savior here also let us know, that the fifth commandment obliged children to relieve their parents in their necessity, and this is the sense of the term honor in other texts of Scripture.”
c. Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition: Through this trick one could completely disobey the command to honor his father or mother and do it while being ultra-religious.
Applied to the Christian:
In whatever capacity that you cannot honor your father and mother ( even if they were in the wrong) life shall not go well with you.
4. (7-9) Jesus condemns their hollow tradition as hypocrisy.
a. Honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me: This was true of the religious leaders Jesus confronted and quoted the passage from Isaiah 29:13 to0. Yet it may also be true of us. We can appear to draw near to God religiousy, all the while having our heart far from Him.
1). God is interested in the internal and the real. We are far more interested in the merely external and image. One must take care that their relationship with God is not merely external and image.
b. Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men: The quotation from Isaiah accurately described the real problem with these religious leaders. They elevated man’s tradition to an equal level with God’s revealed Word.
1). Jesus didn’t say, “All traditions are bad.” He didn’t say, “All traditions are good.” He compared traditions to the Word of God and put them at a much lower priority than what God has said.
5. (10-11) Jesus speaks to the multitude about religious externalism.
a. When He had called the multitude to Himself: Having dealt with the religious leaders, Jesus now instructed the common people about authentic godliness.
b. Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man: Jesus stated a fundamental principle. Eating with unclean hands or any other such thing that we put into us is not defiling; rather, what comes out is what defiles and reveals if we have unclean (defiled) hearts.
1). The principles set out by Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:11 and 17-20 made the ultimate abandonment of the Old Testament food-laws by the church inevitable. Jesus fulfilled the law.
6. (12-14) Jesus then warns His disciples that only what is of God and of truth will last and be secure.
a. Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? This is a humorous scene. The disciples came to Jesus, saying something like this: “Jesus – did you know that you offended those guys?” Of course, Jesus knew that He offended them! He intended to offend them and the way they valued man’s tradition too highly.
b. Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted: This applied directly to the religious leaders and all like them. Their commandments of men will not last, because they are not rooted either in God or truth.
1). Yet this principle should make us examine ourselves to see if we imitate the Pharisees in making traditions commandments. “Here, then, we find the test of all human teaching however well-intentioned. If it be not based upon and rooted in the Word of God, or if it depart in any degree from the true intention of that Word, it is without pity to be rooted up. By this test we need ever to try our traditions, customs, habits, rules, regulations.
c. Let them alone: Jesus did not organize a focused Anti-Scribe and Pharisee committee. He knew that their efforts would fail under the weight of its own legalism.
d. They are blind leaders of the blind… both will fall into a ditch: We sense that Jesus said this with sadness, and perhaps with more sadness for those who are led by the blind than the blind leaders of the blind.
1). Though the Pharisees and teachers of the law had scrolls and interpreted them in the synagogues, this does not mean that they really understood them. The Pharisees did not follow Jesus; so they did not understand and follow the Scriptures
2). In these words of Jesus, we see the guilt of those who are blind leaders of the blind. We also see the responsibility of followers to make sure their leaders are not blind.
7. (15-20) The condition of the heart is what really defiles a person.
a. Explain this parable to us: In Matthew 15:12-14 Jesus didn’t really speak in a parable (except for the brief illustration of the blind leading the blind). Yet because the disciples did not understand Him, they asked for an explanation (Are you also still without understanding?).
b. Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man: Jesus amplified the point first made in Matthew 15:11. We are defiled from the inside out rather than from the outside in.
2) Jesus boldly said that these evil things come from our heart. “The heart is the source of man’s true character, and therefore of his purity or impurity…it is not merely the seat of emotion, but the true person as he really is, not just as he appears outwardly.
3). Said plainly, many people who worry about external habits (what they eat and drink and other such things) should care more about what words come out of their mouth.
Matt. 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
4). And is eliminated: “A vulgar word and a vulgar subject which Jesus would gladly have avoided, but He forces Himself to speak of it for the sake of His disciples. The idea is: from food no moral defilement comes to the person; the defilement is purely physically passing through the bowels into the place of discharge. Doubtless Jesus said this, otherwise no one would have put it into His mouth.
c. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man: Unfortunately, the emphasis of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day – and often in our own – is often only on these external things, not the internal things that make for true righteousness.
We will continue with Lesson 5 next week.
The blessings of the Lord are upon you whether by blood, adoption/sonship or assignment. The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Prov. 10:22
David & Mary Sue