Happy Friday! May the Lord bless and keep you and your family today and throughout the weekend. Enjoy today’s reading as we begin Matthew 15:1-9 NLT, remember Jesus and the disciples had just arrived in Gennesaret – southwest of Capernum.
“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,’[Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[Exod 21:17 or Lev 20:9] 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. 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,
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[ Isa 29:13]””
The Pharisees were not pleased that Jesus and the disciples were back. However, instead of directly attacking Jesus’ actions they focused on what the disciples were not doing, which was the ceremonial washing of hand before eating (Mark 7:3-4).
Jesus quickly responded to the Pharisees hypocrisy and pointed out their flaws, how they continued to break the command of God. More specifically, the 5th commandment (Matthew 15:4).
Brothers and sisters, it is so easy to get in the trap of following religious laws, attending church, doing good things in the eyes of others, and saying a little God Bless you here and there, however if our hearts are far from God then all those things are futile. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great place to start serving the Lord, but if we are only doing these things as optics, and not for the love of the Lord – we need to ask the Lord for forgiveness and a renewed heart to serve and worship Him.
The Lord desires a personal relationship with us. He wants to spend time with us. He desires for us to be authentic in our love, worship and service to Him.
Brothers and sisters, may our actions reflect our love and honor for Jesus Christ. May our lips honor the Lord and our hearts be close to Him as well. By the way, don’t be surprised when you are serving the Lord and others like the Pharisees try to undermine you and your work for the Lord. Simply rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus. Keep praying for God’s guidance. Keep working for the Lord.
Challenges for this weekend:
- Seek the Lord in prayer.
- Attend church and ask the Lord to fill you with His presence. Ask Him for a new experience of worship with Him.
- Pray for the Lord to remove any hypocrisy from your speech and influence.
- Ask the Lord, to teach you His truth and obediently walk in it.
Father God, you know our hearts and you understand the things that keep us from following you. Lord, we ask that you come into our hearts today and remove the things that are not pleasing in your sight. Lord, renew our hope and relationship with you. Lord, deliver us from the things that have us bound to acts of addiction, lies, hypocrisy and malicious intent. Lord, we want to be free from acting, we want to experience a true relationship with you. Lord, change us. Lord, give us a sound mind as we seek you. Lord, we want to be a light in this world, not a hinderance. Fill us with your light. Lord, we pray for our country and ask that you begin to work in all the hearts of politic decision makers. Lord, we pray for all the families who have lost family members and friends to violence. Lord, we simply don’t understand the evil acts of so many, but Lord our hope is in you. Lord, we pray that you will heal all of those who are hurting today and pray that your comfort and love will shine in the midst of everyone’s pain. Lord, heal our land and heal our hearts. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Keep seeking the Lord! Continue to trust His plan. Keep praying!
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