Bound Together in Unity

Posted by on Aug 14, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Bound Together in Unity

Dear Lord…in our readings this morning, we are often confused and questioning what has happened since the feeding of the 5000 and you calming the waters of the Sea of Galilee and saving Peter from drowning. But, you are asking us to remember what Jesus mission was and to find some information about the mission in these passages. Be with us in our reading of the passages and enlighten our hearts to your word.The gospel message for the 11th Sunday of Pentecost is from Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28. These verses follow a healing that Jesus had done right after he and the disciples had gotten out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee. People recognized Jesus and flocked to see him, hear him and to touch his robe to be healed. Also, in the first part of Chapter 15, the Pharisees came out of Jerusalem to question Jesus on the “clean and unclean” traditions of the Jewish faith. Please keep in mind that they are accusing Jesus of not keeping “the tradition of the elders” that are part of the Jewish oral traditions, not what was written in the Torah. These are “rules” they have made up themselves to follow that have nothing to do with worshiping the God who created them.In verses 10-20, Jesus counters their objections with a different question that is done purposely to bring the crowd into the discussion that will bring the tradition of the elders into question by all. He does this with a simple question about what “defiles” a person…relating to what goes in and comes out of a person’s mouth. The Pharisees had neglected the scripture and Jesus was telling the crowd and the disciples that it is not what goes into the mouth that is the problem. The problem is what comes from the heart that hurts people and defiles God’s laws. Peter asked Jesus to explain the parable. It was a little shocking to Jesus that the disciples did not understand what he was saying, but he did go on to tell them that the harmful actions and words that are expressed by a person to others show a person’s character and defile the person. In other words…what comes from the heart and is either spoken or shown through actions shows the real character of a person. This is a very pointed, specific statement Jesus is making to the Jewish rulers of the temple. He is doing it because they have turned the people in the temple away from the law of God…to elevate themselves in the eyes of the people. Jesus was given the task by God to bring the Jewish people back to worship of the one who saved them from the wilderness and persecution many years before. So…here is one aspect of the mission of Jesus, very specifically shown to us.The second part of this gospel reading is showing us the other aspect of Jesus’ mission on earth. It is time for Jesus to be showing these specific areas to the disciples as they will soon be going out to proclaim the love, grace and salvation that is offered to them through belief in God and acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God and savior.In these verses, Jesus and the disciples have traveled about one day from the Sea of Galilee to the area of Tyre and Sidon. This area is populated primarily by Canaanites who are natives of this area. The Canaanites were conquered by the Israelites and have been considered as a lesser group of people…often referred to as “dogs” and viewed by...

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