Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on August 3, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 15:10-20 (NKJV)
15:10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
In today’s appointed text we hear Jesus paint the portrait of the true man of God as a plant who has been mercifully planted by grace through faith by the Father. Thus Jesus separates His disciples from the traditions of the elders, which interpreted and expanded the Law in such a way that it enabled a man to transgress the commandment of God with a show of legality. Jesus leads His own beyond this hypocrisy, even beyond the whole legal conception of cultic purity, to a worship in purity of heart. Jesus is here transcending the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament while at the same time affirming the will of the Law, that there be a pure, undefiled people of God to worship Him.
This historic narrative of Jesus’ teaching is also recorded by other Gospel writers. Verses 17 and 18 of this text are recorded by Saint Mark in his Gospel account of this exchange, where he, likely communicating with a more Gentile audience than Saint Matthew, records that this goes as far as making all food clean (Mark 7:18-19). This is valuable in demonstrating that the subtle differences among the Gospel accounts do not demonstrate error, but rather present a richness and depth that add clarity by offering the different perspectives of the various authors and hearers.
Prayer: O God, Whose never-failing Providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and Earth: we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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