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Matthew 15 – Persistence is Faith

by Jill

In this episode, we discussed the meaning of tradition in relation to Jesus and our faith, focusing on Matthew 15. We explored the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees, who questioned him about the tradition of washing hands. Jesus responded by challenging their hypocrisy and pointed out how they exploited religious laws for their benefit while neglecting their moral duties, like honoring their parents. He then quoted Isaiah, condemning them for honoring God with their lips while their hearts were far from Him. Jesus emphasized that true worship comes from the heart, not just adherence to man-made laws.

We then delved into Jesus’ teachings on what truly defiles a person. According to Jesus, what comes out of their mouths reflects the condition of their hearts, not whether they wash their hands or what they eat. When good is within us, good things come out; conversely, when evil resides within, it manifests through our words. This teaching offended the Pharisees. But Jesus emphasized that those who failed to understand His teachings were like blind guides leading the blind.

The discussion continued with the encounter Jesus had with a Canaanite woman in Tyre and Sidon, who pleaded with him to heal her demon-possessed child. Initially, Jesus expressed that His mission was for the children of Israel, but the woman persisted, expressing her faith in Him. Her persistence and faith impressed Jesus, leading Him to grant her request and heal her child. This story demonstrated the power of unwavering faith and determination, regardless of one’s race or status in society.

Finally, we reflected on how tradition can either bind us together or distract us from the true essence of our faith. While traditions like celebrating Christmas can bring us together as a community, they should not replace or overshadow the fundamental teachings and truths of the Bible. The episode concluded with the encouragement to have faith like the Canaanite woman and to keep seeking God with determination, recognizing that Jesus has compassion for everyone, regardless of their background or heritage.

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