This post corresponds with Episode #48 and the sermon on August 20th
Matthew 15:10-20 Common English Bible (CEB)
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”10 Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. 11 It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”
12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”
13 Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. 14 Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch.”
Introductory Image - Favorites Buttons On Your Radio Or Remote
What are the top 3 channels you love on your radio/television? If you were suddenly asked to either have those three channels or all other channels, which would you choose? How would your decision be impacted if your family or significant other were included in the choice? How do the creators and programmers of that channel expect you to consume their content? Do your favorites challenge you or comfort you? Do they inform you or affirm your beliefs?
The religious leadership at the time of Jesus had surrounded themselves with like minded people, shoved out anyone that was different, and had cornered the market of the thought processes and rules of the people. Jesus had a very different voice than anything they had heard, and that was the primary conflict in the text for Sunday morning.
Three Points of Discussion
The Upside and Downside of Tradition
Jesus clearly embraced several aspects of the faith of his ancestors. He embraced the text, participated in significant rituals in the life of the church, spoke in multiple places of worship, and tried to interpret prophecy for the people surrounding him. More than any other, the author of the Gospel of Matthew wanted to depict Jesus as a devout follower of God.
But Jesus wasn’t bound to the traditions of the people that had been created alongside all of the essential elements of the faith. He felt many of the traditions had gone too far and were now impeding the true mission of the church.
The Power of Emotional Bullies
Very few people truly want others to be upset. The overwhelming majority would like to achieve their goals without upsetting others because they want to be liked….because they don’t want the hassle of conflict...because they need people to get what they want. Emotional bullies understand this concept fully and they get upset so people will respond.
How can we discern whether someone is truly upset or is acting upset in order to bring about or halt change? How is the feeling magnified as the story is told from one person to another, to another, to the actual person that is the focus? How can we avoid firing back through the same channels expressing the fact that we are upset... with the person who is upset ...and all of the fluff in between?
We shouldn't fire back at people as Jesus did, because we don’t have his wisdom, authority, or perspective. However, we can make sure we are not ultimately guided or motivated by fixing the someone that is upset.
Think again of the favorites button on your tv remote or radio in the car. How can it limit your perspective? How does the content comfort you?....Affirm you?....Cement you into fixed positions on several topics?
This Sunday, we will discuss the reckless defense of our fixed positions, emotional outbursts, social media rants, and other things we can attempt to avoid in our walk of faith.
Click Here for an several more resources for this week
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