Extended reading: Matthew 14:32-36 crossing to Gennesaret and healings there
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
This passage was very interesting. It is another way of saying honor God and love your neighbor. Jesus tells us that our hearts are far from him. Sometimes we let our traditions and wants to overcome true worship. What comes out of our mouths defiles us. In other words, it is our actions that are wrong even if we go to church every week, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, serve on committees, pledge, etc. Lip service doesn’t work. As Christians we must exemplify Christ’s teachings. We must minister to each other, not criticize. We must support each other in our daily lives, not just at Christmas or Easter.
Dear Lord, help us to follow you every day. Remind us of the two commandments to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Amen