JANUARY 21, 2022 ~ 52 WEEKS THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT
JANUARY 21 READING…Matthew 15
The prologue to a very well-known classic play says this…"Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!" Traditions are powerful things, and not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us have family traditions that we keep…they give us a sense of belonging, nostalgia, and safety. There is a problem though when traditions in our religious practices begin to pervert or usurp the Scripture and our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees once again came against Jesus and His disciples accusing them of not keeping the traditions of the elders of the Jewish faith. Jesus said to them clearly that they were actually breaking the commandments of God through the unbiblical practices of their religious traditions. He then called them out for their obvious hypocrisy in being worried about whether Jesus’ disciples washed their hands, while they themselves made the commandments of God of no effect by promoting their own man-made traditions. Jesus quoted Isaiah to describe these religious dead-heads…they, like every religious hypocrite, merely gave lip service to God, while living lives contrary to the commandments of God. Jesus tells the people that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles us…but what comes out of the mouth. Of course, this statement offended the Pharisees and their traditions…but Jesus tells his disciples that these religious leaders were blind, and they were leading their blind followers, both of whom will fall into a ditch. Peter wanted clarification, so Jesus made it clear by telling him that what is in the heart comes out of the mouth, so if the heart is filled with evil…evil will come out. Be careful with your religious traditions my brothers and sisters…make sure they don’t stand opposed to the Word, or the Lord of your life.
Jesus again heals a Gentile. This shows that His ministry was not only to Israel, but to the whole world. He uses an encounter with a Gentile woman whose daughter was demon-possessed to expand the understanding of His follower concerning the fullness of His ministry. This Gentile woman is persistent, even when Jesus tells her that He came for lost sheep of Israel, and that the food He came to give was for them. The woman responds that even the crumbs of the food would be good. Jesus praised her for her faith, and healed her daughter. Jesus then continues to heal many in the region of the Sea of Galilee…where most of the miracles of His ministry took place. Then, for the second time Jesus feeds thousands with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish. This time there were 4000, and this time once the crowd was fully fed, there were 7 baskets full left over. Jesus is always able to take a little and make it much…as He did it then, He can do this in your life also.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
MONDAY'S READING…Matthew 16