John T. Willis

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Biblical Teaching of Disciples--8

Matthew 15 contains five events about Jesus. Four of them involve Jesus' disciples. In almost all of these, Jesus' disciples misunderstood what God the Father and Jesus our Lord had in mind. Briefly, here are the events.

1. Jewish Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus to criticize Jesus' disciples. They ask Jesus: "Why do YOUR DISCIPLES break the tradition of the elders?" They do not wash their hands before they eat. Obviously, the Pharisees and scribes were trying to find something to criticize Jesus. Their criticism is not based on the Hebrew Bible, but on their tradition. Unfortunately, ALL MODERN CHURCHES, INCLUDING CHURCHES OF CHRIST, criticize other people because of their unique traditions. Matthew 15:1-2.
     Jesus responded by rebuking the Pharisees and scribes for breaking the commandments of God for the sake of their tradition. The Pharisees and scribes would not support their aging parents by excusing themselves that they were giving their resources to GOD rather than their parents. Thus, they made void the word of God in favor of their tradition. Unfortunately, there is a long list of man-made traditions which churches champion instead of God's word. Matthew 15:3-9.

2. Jesus then taught the crowds that what defiles a person is not what goes into the mouth, but what goes out of the mouth. JESUS' DISCIPLES came to Jesus and told him that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what he said in Matthew 15:3-9. Jesus told them to ignore the Pharisees because they are blind guides. Peter did not understand what Jesus meant about the parable of the defilement that goes out of the mouth. Jesus said that what goes out of the mouth comes from the HEART from which come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile. What an important idea for all disciples. The HEART is the seat of spiritual life. We must be concerned about the heart, not about external acts. Matthew 15:10-20.

3. Jesus left the place where he was and went into the country of the Phoenicians, "the district of Tyre and Sidon," and a Canaanite woman came to him, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David, my daughter is tormented by a demon." Jesus did not reply. But JESUS' DISCIPLES came to Jesus and urged Jesus to send her away because she kept shouting after Jesus' disciples.  Jesus rebuked his disciples because of their attitude, telling them that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But the Canaanite woman knelt before Jesus, saying, "Lord, help me." Jesus said, It is not fair to take the children's food [the people of Israel] and throw it to the dogs [pagans]. She replied that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table. Jesus told her, "Great is your faith!" Let it be done to you as your wish. Her daughter was healed instantly. Unlike Jesus' disciples, Jesus is concerned about all people, not just so-called "insiders." Matthew 15:21-28.

4. Jesus left the country of the Phoenicians and went to the Sea of Galilee, where he healed mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. The crowds that experienced these miracles PRAISED THE GOD OF ISRAEL. These miracles of Jesus come from God the Father, and thus people praise God the Father what his mighty acts through Jesus Christ our Lord. Matthew 15:29-31.
5. JESUS CALLED HIS DISCIPLES and told them he has compassion on the crowd because they had been with Jesus three days and had eaten nothing. JESUS' DISCIPLES said that they did not have enough bread in the desert to feed this great crowd. Jesus asked them how much bread they had. They said: SEVEN LOAVES AND A FEW SMALL FISH. Jesus told the crowd to sit on the ground. Then Jesus gave thanks, broke the loaves of bread and the fish, and gave them to his disciples, who then gave them to the crowd. This fed the whole crowd, and the disciples took up the broken piece and filled them with SEVEN BASKETS. The crowd had 4,000 men plus their women and children. Then Jesus sent the crowd away, and went to the region of Magadan in a boat. Again, Jesus' disciples had little faith in God through Jesus. We still have this same problem. Remember, disciples are learners, followers, servants, not leaders. ONLY God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord is our LEADER.

Share YOUR concerns and biases and reversals and aspirations and doubts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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