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Chap. 15 - Pure in Heart

The opening verses of chapter 15 really strike me this morning, as I look at them in the different (to me) language that Ruden uses. The pharisees ask Jesus why He lets the disciples "overstep the laws the ancestors handed down" and Jesus retorts that thy have overstepped God's law through the rules they have handed down. The parallel, which has always been there, comes more clear for me in "overstep the law".

This theme is repeated later in the chapter when Jesus talks about what makes a person "clean". In her notes, Ruden suggests that Jesus is following in thee Rabbinic tradition that says that pure intentions are more important that physically keeping the law. I was just reading about the Straw Hat Riots that happened in New York in 1922 when young men started beating people up because they were wearing straw hats at the wrong time of year. It is easy to get into a mode where you think the rules are really important. I can be prone to this, for sure.

There are rules that God has put into place for our good, and maybe there are places where we follow the rules just because they are the rules. Jesus says here that looking after people is more important than looking after the law, but surely the law is for our good and helps us look after people? Figuring out where to push and where to let people alone is difficult. I get alarmed when people do things that I believe are bad for them, but when I point this out they say I'm being hateful for not supporting them. I suppose this is where intent matters. I just need to be careful that I am not stressed because the people around me aren't doing what I think they should. Matthew seems to have a sub-theme of being a bit more chill around that.

Lord, please help me to discern how to love the world the way You do.



It seems that the Farisaioi (Pharisees) focus is on the rules of their concocted law(s). Their judgmental attitude is what Jesus is speaking out against. How is Jesus speaking out to us today? How have we as Christians been focused on being judgmental rather than loving with the heart. (Isaiah 29:13)?


Vv 18-20 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person;

First thought is that in "murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander", there is a progression away from physical damage to emotional damage. That progression doesn't stop at slander. It continues into gossip and being judgmental. Being judgmental is the real challenge for me. Similar to Matthew 5:28, in which Jesus says, " But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.,"



15:16 says, "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you." Whenever I read that Jesus called people 'hypocrites' or 'brood of vipers', for example, I wonder about it. If I were to say that to someone I wanted to experience the love of Jesus, it would probably stop the conversation right there. In a course I took on Luke last year, we had a brief discussion about it. One student suggested that the language of the time reflected the honour/shame culture of the day. The prof mentioned that rhetoric in those time was like the cut and thrust of medieval jousting. A commentary I…


I've also heard that the rhetoric of the time was much harsher than what we're used to, and people wouldn't have been as sensitive to some of the insults that Jesus throws as we would. However, it does seem like Jesus is reaching for some deliberately harsh words. I don't really know what to make of it, other than that Jesus is impatient with people who are demanding and self-righteous in relation to the poor and vulnerable - spiritually and materially.

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