Jesus Teaches about Inner Purity
1 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, 2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents.[c] And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[d]”
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
Jesus, how often do I follow the wrong rules? I know it is so easy to say that “times change”, and forget Your Word. Your way is love, kindness, and mercy; but my way is so often procedures and rules and efficiency. I can easily be as big a hypocrite as any Pharisee.
And, Lord, don’t let me honor You with my lips, and not with my life. I know I need to change. I need to speak less, and be far more careful when I do speak. I need to have a pure heart. I need to do my best at my job. I need to be gentle and loving and meek at home. I need You to change me so much. Holy Spirit, please give me Your fruit. It is a lot easier to talk about loving You, than to truly love and follow You. Change my life Lord. Change me.
10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”
13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”
Jesus, I have made all the mistakes You mention above. I try hard not to offend people. I know that is OK, unless I sin or don’t speak for You because I’m worried about offending people. Of course, I’ve sinned by being too outspoken too. What a mess.
I’ve also tried to lead when I was blind. Jesus, You know what I mean. You know I am learning to love, but I know the change is slow. I still am so self-centered. Look at my prayers! Lord, I have a family. Open my eyes so I am not the blind leading the blind. Help me to love as I should.
15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
Jesus, my words betray me. Obviously my heart is full of lust and greed, just look at what I think about. Lord, I need a new heart. I don’t know how You do such a thing. I’m tired of the battle within me. At one moment I feel like I truly want to serve only You, and the next I am fighting with some lustful thought. Why? Jesus, please change me from the inside. Change me so much. Change me quickly. Help! The battle is hot, the storm is strong, I feel like I am sinking. Rescue me.
The Faith of a Gentile Woman
21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile[e] woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
Jesus, Help me to be like this Gentile woman. She is so humble. She doesn’t get mad when she is offended, even called a dog. She accepts that You are the master and she is unworthy. You are the master, help me to make You my master. I am certainly unworthy. I am a sinner saved by Your mercy. Help me never to see myself as another’s master.
The woman also has great faith in You. She knows You are the only hope for her child and does not look to anyone else for help. If only I believed in You as she did. In my day-to-day life, let me put my faith in You and not in my brains or ideas. You are all that really matters.
Lastly Lord, she did not give up. She kept begging You till her prayer was answered. Lord, how often do I quit praying too soon? Please Lord, I know I am prone to discouragement. Some of the most important things in my life seem like they will never change. Help me to keep praying, keep begging. Help me have patience and perseverance. Have my prayers change me Lord. Change me.
Jesus Heals Many People
29 Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. 30 A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. 31 The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus, come again. We all need healed from something and You “healed them all.” Lord, come back and make this world what You always intended it to be. No sick or suffering. Heal us all.
Jesus Feeds Four Thousand
32 Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”
33 The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
34 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
35 So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.
37 They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. 38 There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. 39 Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.
Jesus, You felt sorry for the people. You are so kind and tender and thoughtful of others. Help me to be so kind. And I know You are telling me to feed the hungry. Even in this miracle, You gave to Your disciples, and they gave to the people. You have given me much. It is time for me to give to others. Help me to be brave Lord. Help me to give away my earthly treasures so I can have treasure in heaven.
And Lord, I can only give what You give to me. Bless my work. Any prosperity I will ever have must come from You. It is Yours.
- Matthew 15:4 Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16.
- Matthew 15:4 Exod 21:17 (Greek version); Lev 20:9 (Greek version).
- Matthew 15:6 Greek their father; other manuscripts read their father or their mother.
- Matthew 15:9 Isa 29:13 (Greek version).
- Matthew 15:22 Greek Canaanite.