A Matter of the Heart | DownshoreDrift

Alan Cross

Alan Cross

In Matthew 15:1-20, Jesus has another confrontation with the Pharisees and teacher of the Law where they ask him about table customs and dietary laws. “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” These “traditions” were in oral form at Jesus’s time and they were finally written down in the Mishnah around 200 A.D. They developed after the Babylonian Captivity/Exile as the Jewish rabbis began to try to regulate the behavior and daily practices of the people. The thinking here is that going beyond the Law with protections and rituals and regulations was a good thing because it would keep the people from polluting themselves with sin or with coming close to breaking God’s Law. They saw the Babylonian Captivity as punishment for their sins and unfaithfulness to God, so their response was to make sure that they and the Jewish people followed the Law of God to the letter (and beyond) so they would receive blessing, freedom, and prosperity from The Lord. Jesus confronts this by saying that their focus is wrong. Continue reading →

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