In today’s story, Jesus challenges some religious beliefs and traditions of the Pharisees. We tend to get a little down on the Pharisees, but what about us? Are there ways in which we have “let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men”? What traditions are taking a higher place for me, than the commands of God?
The discussion of traditions for the Pharisees really focussed on what’s considered clean or unclean, and Jesus begins to teach about the sinfulness, the uncleanness that comes from within our hearts.
Do we believe that our hearts are sinful? Or do we blame the culture, TV, the internet, for polluting our minds? Jesus gives a long list of sins… our group began to identify with them, one by one… unclean from the inside… not so contaminated by the culture, but by our sinful nature, our selfish desires, our hidden sin…
Perhaps all this talk about clean and unclean paved the way for the next story of the woman who seeks healing for her daughter. She’s a Gentile, unclean to the Jews, likened to dogs in Jesus comment. And yet, she’s the one who can see past the tradition, recognizing that even the crumbs of what Jesus has to offer would bring healing to her child. Jesus responds to her faith; He heals her child.
In the final story this week, Jesus heals a deaf mute, with some spit and the touch of His hand. This seems to be a physical demonstration of what God had promised to do, to open the eyes of the blind, and to unstop the ears of the deaf. (Is. 35:5-6) The physical healing offers a picture of redemption.
Have your eyes been opened? Can you see the things that only God can show you?
I pray that Jesus will continue to open our eyes and our ears so that we may be shaped as we study His Word.