Tuesday, May 4, 2021

On a hillside 20) B6 A misfiring gotcha.

What tragedy and embarrassment.  Make no mistake they knew Scripture. David’s plea: Create in me a pure heart O God, and put a new and right spirit within me Ps 51:10. Isaiah: These people honour me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Isa. 29.  But tragically they do not accept Jesus. And part of the problem was they thought he was too casual about God.  And in this visit their opinion is confirmed. Right in front of their eyes, the disciples eat food with ‘unclean’ hands.  It doesn’t mean they hadn’t washed them, but they hadn’t done it properly for God. which involved first letting water run one way, and then the other, with a kneading of one hand over the other.  May be old Peter has just dipped his hands in water and rubbed them on his cloak. And it tells us in brackets washing extends to cups, pitchers and kettles.  To say nothing of foods to abstain from, people like Samaritans to avoid, and Sabbath laws to be obeyed.  

And this is the embarrassing bit.  They are so sure they have got it right about what pleases God that they criticize Jesus;. Why don’t your disciples live according to the traditions of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean hands?’  It’s a gotcha moment. They have caught out Jesus.  Here are religious people who self-righteously, and smugly, see what these disciples are doing wrong.  But in fact it’s a gotcha the other way round! They hadn’t got a clue how Jesus would respond. or they would have never have opened the subject up.

And we see Jesus as rarely we see him: Jesus quotes at them their revered prophet. Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; These people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain.  Hypocrites. Self-righteous hypocrites. And he goes further. He charges them with avoiding caring for parents which is a key commandment they slide out of by this loophole which enabled children to avoid helping parents.  

Their outward seriousness about God has completely missed the inner self.  That’s what makes it so hypocrital.  They put all this emphasis on outward cleanliness without clean hearts. His judgment is that their hearts are far from God. Jesus summons the crowd and says: Listen to me What matters is the INSIDE.   Jesus is emphatic. Nothing outside a person can make them unclean by going into them.  Rather it is what comes out of a person that makes them unclean.   

 But his disciples don't understand....

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