Matthew 15: Are Your Religious Ways Violating Direct Commandments from God?

Handwashing is the new obsession in today’s world. Back in Jesus’ day, handwashing was a religious, traditional, ceremony that Jews had to do before they ate. They had to be purified. However, that external act did not purify their hearts.

Many of today’s religions have man-made rules, traditions, rites and rituals which accomplish nothing. Watch how Jesus explains the Gospel Truth. Let’s dig in….

Matthew 15

Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”

Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
    for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” [Isaiah 29:13]

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

Human Rules vs God’s Rules

When we ignore God’s rules and put man’s rules over them, man’s rules become more important than God’s. God’s rules are simple, yet not easy. Moreover, they are so simple that a child can understand them. That’s our problem. We tend to overthink everything!

Lord, help us all to recognize what are man-made rules, rites, rituals and traditions that go against your commandments. (I’ll be doing a short series on the 10 Commandments soon. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.)

Blind Guides

You’ve heard the saying, “The blind leading the blind.” Well, here’s where it comes from! Jesus calls the Pharisees “blind guides” because they are leading the people to destruction. That’s what false preachers, priests, prophets and teachers do. Not every leader should be followed or trusted.

Defiled Hearts

What people say — what WE say — reflects what’s in the heart. He tells us, “…from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you.”

Legalism

Many religions have man-made rules, rites and rituals that are supposed to be done in a certain way for the religion to be effective. Like praying in a certain manner, using certain words.

Traditions and man-made rule-following can never save you. To think that is to have a defiled heart. For instance, in the Roman Catholic, man-made “traditions”…

Furthermore, they have nothing to do with repentance or salvation. It’s all idolatry.

God Hears ALL Our Prayers

It doesn’t matter what prayer posture you take or what specific words you say.

It’s our motives behind what we’re asking that makes the difference. If you ask for financial help with greed in your heart, you’ll never get it. However, if you have honest, generosity in your heart, God will provide.

In April of 2020, I joined a women’s group in my church. We met every Thursday, sometimes in person, sometimes virtually. Due to the pandemic, my marketing consulting business had stopped. I was hurting financially. Miraculously enough, God provided just enough to make the rent payment on time. But, I was full of anxiety wondering if I’d get enough to cover the next bill that was due. I asked the ladies in the group to pray for me.

I followed everything that Jesus said to do in Matthew 6 (seek the Kingdom of God first). I prayed 2 Corinthians 9:10 every night. I tithed 10% as soon as I received a payment. But, I was still anxious. Then I read Lamentations 3…

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
    to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
    for salvation from the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26 NLT

This reminded me of a song (the video is at the bottom). The chorus goes like this…

Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hands have provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Lord unto me.

That line: “all I have needed Thy hands have provided.” That’s the one that got me. God provides what I need and always has! However, He provides in HIS TIME. I kept diligently praying for the promised abundance if I was a faithful servant and a cheerful giver.

So, here we are in 2021. My goal for 2021 was to have 3 months of expenses in savings. Never in my life have I been able to accomplish that. As soon as I had close to the $1000 “emergency fund” we’re all supposed to have, an emergency would happen. And, I never really recovered financially from being unemployed for 2 years.

I’ve been doing this podcast and blog faithfully for over a year. I’ve been volunteering at my church every Sunday, tithing faithfully — even giving more if I could. In February, a client of mine sent me a link to apply for a grant. At first, I thought it was a business contest, but I figured, I had nothing to lose. Well, God provided.

Early in March, I got an email saying that I qualified for a $10,000 grant because I lived in an area hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was a Latina woman and I also served my community by giving seminars for the library and other organizations. It landed in my business account last week. I put $5000 in savings.

I upgraded my computer, tablet and other technology. When I took my old computer to have the techs transfer the data to the new one, the tech saw that the metal casing of the laptop was warped. He said the battery was ready to explode. He was amazed it hadn’t already. Talk about perfect timing!

This morning I got my COVID-19 relief payment by direct deposit. I paid off my car and put the rest in savings. I now have 3 months worth of expenses in savings. Because I was faithful in the little things, God was faithful with the big things.

This next passage in Matthew 15 speaks about persistence…

The Faith of a Gentile Woman

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Keep on Praying

When God is silent, we need to press on and press in. Courageous faith moves Jesus. In the last sections, Jesus provides again…

Jesus Heals Many People

29 Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. 30 A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. 31 The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

32 Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

33 The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

34 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”

35 So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.

37 They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. 38 There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. 39 Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.

Matthew 15 NLT

In Gentile Territory

Back in Matthew 14, Jesus fed 5000+ with less! How quickly the disciples forgot! Here He feeds the Gentiles, showing that He came to save not just the Jews, but the Gentiles, too.

Only Jesus Can Save You!

There is forgiveness for anyone who comes to Him in faith. He will give you a clean heart that will bring about clean actions that will heal the world around you.

What must you do to be saved?

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Eternal Life…


Thy Will Be Done


Great is Thy Faithfulness



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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