I love when Jesus doesn’t answer questions asked to him. He was asked about why his disciples didn’t keep the tradition of washing their hands before they ate. Jesus could have said that their mommas didn’t raise them right or something. Instead he calls them hypocrites. Honoring your father and mother is the only command with a promise but the Pharisees have apparently neglected their parents and have dedicated their money to God. My assumption is that they are giving more money in a way that makes them look more spiritual when in all reality they are despicable in the eyes of God. Their intent may have actually been good. They were so dedicated to God that they were overlooking their families. Are there any ways in which we become so dedicated to what we think God wants that we end up losing sight of God’s heart and become offensive to him?
Ironically, the disciples come back to Jesus to ask if he realizes that he has offended the Pharisees by what he has said. Why is this ironic? In the chapter before they proclaimed him as the “Son of God” and worshiped him. Now they are coming to him in concern that he has offended the Pharisees. He has set himself in opposition to the Pharisees here and they have missed that he has the authority.
Evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…these things make them unclean and not the washing of hands. There have been different times when we have placed a higher priority on the traditions we keep, ignoring the sin problems in our lives as if the keeping of our practices would save us.
The story of the Canaanite woman makes me scratch my head a bit to be honest. She addresses him as Lord and acknowledges that he is the Son of David. Jesus ignores her cries and when questioned he says that he only came for the lost sheep of Israel. This is baffling to me because we have already had the centurion come to Jesus and his servant was healed. Is it because she is a Canaanite, the historically hated rivals of Israel? She continues to be persistent, kneeling before him begging, and Jesus basically calls her a dog. Instead of being offended by Jesus’ comment she simply says that even the dogs get crumbs from the table. At this, Jesus heals her daughter because of her great faith. These comments and actions from Jesus are very bazar to me and I can’t quite figure it out. What I take away from this story is that we should be persistent like this woman, recognizing that we really are dogs in his presence. Thanks be to God that he does not leave us in this lowly state.
Continuing to scratch my head…we have another situation where there is a multitude of hungry people and the disciples still have no idea how to feed them. Did they forget so quickly? This time Jesus is up on the mountain again and people go to the mountain to find healing from God. Now later in his ministry, the people are invited up to the mountain and they worship God there. This scene is a beautiful reminder that up on the mountain of God we join Jesus and break bread with him. This bread is ever plentiful and in response we worship God because of him.