Daily Reading: Matthew 15:1-6:
“Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”
The Pharisees represent the spiritually blind who are leading people astray (Matthew 15:1). The point Jesus is saying is that if a person is being led in their life by someone who doesn’t know Christ (I am the way, He said) [John 14:6] the path always leads to the pit- you won’t find life only death.
The Pharisees are insinuating that the disciples are spiritually unclean because their hygiene is not up to par (Matthew 15:2). Jesus replied, (You want to use the law as the standard of someone’s purity or cleanliness) “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? I can envision they are probably looking down at their hands- thinking I know I washed mine.
For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ Not only of giving abusive language to parents, but of slighting, as the word signifies, and neglecting them, taking no notice of them, when needy and in distress, to supply their wants.
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand (Here’s the point):
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” It’s what’s on the inside that counts (Matthew 15:11).
“Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
A person would not catch this with studying it out in the English. The word skandalizō (offended) is a Greek metaphor, to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:23- but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
So, we are not the ones leading people to destruction- instead we have had our spiritual eyes opened-we are the ones who have spiritual sight and lead people to life (Jesus Christ).