Week 17, Day 3
April 27, 2022
Scripture: Matthew 15
““ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”” (Matthew 15:8–9)
Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah in the context of a disagreement with Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They see his disciples eating with unwashed hands. Your momma and the Pharisees have the same rules!
Here Jesus addresses a common problem for all of us. What makes us righteous? Is it the outside appearance of things, or is it something from within? What makes us righteous?
Jeremiah prophesied of a day that would come where our hearts would be made new. That the heart of stone would become flesh.
Jesus makes an important point about the human condition. The issue is not that the hands need washing, it’s that we need cleansed from the inside out. Like Jesus said earlier, “It’s the overflow of our heart that our mouth speaks.” Here, the evil that comes out of us is what defiles us.
I’d still encourage hand washing. It’s a good hygiene practice. Looking at my life though, I have gotten myself into a great deal more trouble, not because of the dirt behind my nails, but the corruption of my heart. What I need is Christ to make my heart new. I need his Spirit at work in my life. This is what Paul calls the Fruit of the Spirit, and what John calls Abiding. My righteousness comes, not through my works, but the work of Christ. I abide and rest in Him in the work that he has done.
Take time today to pray to God, “make my heart new. Let my lips praise you, from a heart that is overflowing in your goodness, mercy and love.”
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.