Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on July 14, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 15:1-9 (NKJV)
15:1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 ‘And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
In Matthew 5:20, Jesus says, “…unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” In today’s reading we have an example of the Pharisees’ “righteousness,” which Jesus calls hypocritical. From the profession of their own lips you would have thought that they were highly zealous for God and His Word. These leaders point out the supposed faults of Jesus’ disciples. However, their honor of God was only skin deep. Their real concern was for the praise of men. They kept the traditions of man, but they did not keep the commandments of God.
Jesus exposes their false ideas about God’s will and Word. Man cannot become righteous before God by his own self-appointed works. The righteousness which avails before God is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is received by faith in the heart. God’s Word of Law was not given to make a person righteous. God’s desire was not just the production of outward works. He desired to create a new heart in man through the Gospel. Once righteous through faith, man would desire to fear and love God.
Prayer: O God, who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward Thee that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 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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