Week of October 15 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Matthew 15:10-20

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Reflect: What is the point of the statement Jesus makes in verse 13?

Consider: The disciples were astounded by what Jesus taught about foods. After all, they had been raised good Jews (see Acts 10:14 for Peter’s testimony). They knew the difference between the “clean” and “unclean” foods (Lev. 11). But the disciples had another concern: This teaching had offended the Pharisees and was certain to create serious problems. But Jesus was not worried about the Pharisees. Neither they nor their teachings had been planted by God, and therefore would not last. While there are isolated groups that seek to maintain the traditions, for the most part, phariseeism is gone. However, the spirit of phariseeism (tradition, legalism, hypocrisy, externals) is still with us, what Jesus called “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt. 16:6). Jesus also pointed out that the Pharisees were blind and could only lead their converts into the ditch. In Matthew 23:16, He called them “blind guides”—quite a graphic description. Why be afraid of rootless plants that are dying, or blind guides who cannot see where they are going?[1]

Respond: When you compare your attitude and actions with who God wants you to be, where do you see immediate need for change? What are some ways we can help each other not get distracted by rules and issues that take away from the good news of the gospel?


[1]  Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 53–54.