Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Heart Worship and Perseverance of Faith 8.17.14
Dear friend,

Today we consider two thoughts from Matthew 15:1-28.
1) Worship is not in ritual or tradition alone, but it is a worship of the heart.
2) Faith in Christ empowers us to persevere through the waiting times of life.

The people are loving the healing that Jesus is doing, they are bringing their sick to him to be healed, seeing that even by just touching the hem of Jesus' garment, healing takes place. Meanwhile the leaders of the Jewish church, who have their authority solidly anchored in the fact that their ancestors are Abraham, Moses and David, are not happy with the increasing popularity of Jesus and so rather than joining in the celebration at the blessing that people are receiving from the healing ministry of Jesus, they come to him with an accusation that He is not keeping His disciples in line, for they are eating without washing their hands.

KJV Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Those who came with the question had it right, that it was the tradition of the elders that was being violated, as there was not any Scripture that taught that which they called "the tradition of the elders," but it was the interpretation of the Scriptures by the elders.

Jesus countered with a question of his own and gave them some instruction:

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

In His counterquestion and reply, He gave Old Testament references by which they were bound to obey, but through their interpretation of it they had made a loophole by which they got around that which the Scripture commanded. Below is an explanation of what this was all about, taken from a Bible dictionary.

00897 897 897 Corban, a Hebrew word adopted into the Greek of the New Testament and left untranslated. It occurs only once Mr 7:11 It means a gift or offering consecrated to God. Anything over which this word was once pronounced was irrevocably dedicated to the temple. Land, however, so dedicated might be redeemed before the year of jubilee Le 27:16-24 Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their false doctrine, inasmuch as by their traditions they had destroyed the commandment which requires children to honour their father and mother, teaching them to find excuse from helping their parents by the device of pronouncing "Corban" over their goods, thus reserving them to their own selfish use.

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Speaking directly to them, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah, written 700 years earlier and pointed out that outwardly they appear to be worshipping God but that their heart is far from the Lord. He calls it vain, or futile or worthless worship, for they teach as truth their own commandments. In so doing, they reject the commandments of God.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Jesus then says: "Hear and understand: What you eat has nothing to do with your righteousness, it has no bearing on it, but that which is spoken out of your mouth is an indicator of that which is in your heart, that area of a human being that no one can see but God. That is what defiles you!"

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

The disciples evidently were worried that Jesus had spoken too directly, for they came to Him and asked Him if He know that He had offended the Pharisees with His direct approach? He replied by saying that plants that are not planted by His heavenly Father will be rooted up. Don't worry about them, for such plants are blind leaders of the blind, for if the blind lead the blind, both the leader and the follower will fall into the ditch.

15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Peter, seemingly not quite getting it, asked for clarification from Jesus. He was mildly rebuked by Jesus, but then Jesus clearly brings out the difference between natural eating and of that which comes out of the mouth. He lists those things that our fallen nature loves, thoughts which proceed from a heart that is self oriented and which wants to be served rather than to serve. He is illustrating the practice of Corban, whereby one by saying the word Corban over some property that belongs to the Lord, one is excused from obeying the commandment which calls upon children to honor the father and mother. All sin is against God, which is rebellion of the heart and then which reveals itself outwardly through speech and actions.

The three P's come into play here as they do in all temptation: Pride, Power, Possessions. Our flesh by nature is self sufficient with no need of God, our flesh by nature desires to control or use others and our flesh by nature wants more and more of material things. The Spirit in us is needy for his mercy, the Spirit in us desires to serve others for their blessing and the Spirit in us is content with that which we have been given by God.

Jesus then leaves that area, heads north to the coastal towns of Tyre and Sidon, where a non Jewish woman meets him with a big need.

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

She testifies of her knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah by using the words, O Lord, thou Son of David. The testimony of the Scriptures that the Messiah would be born of the line of David, so that when one made the statement "thou Son of David" witness was given of that knowledge. Please note that she cried for mercy for herself and not for her daughter. That cry demonstrates to us of her deep identification with the needs of her daughter making her cry as if it was herself who had the sickness. Now let us not miss the fact that she was an outsider as far as people were concerned, as the disciples were concerned, and at first glance, as far as Jesus was concerned. For by Jesus was silent at her first cry........

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

As the disciples listened and watched her cry to Him, they instructed their Master to send her away, for she is crying after us. At this point, they did not understand what it meant to love their neighbor. Jesus seemingly rebuffed her by saying that He was here only for the Jewish people. That did not stop her, for she came and kneeled for Him............. she did not give up at His silence, she did not give up at His statement that He was not here for her. She cried the more, "Lord, help me....."

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

There are various thoughts as to what the term dog means. Some it refers to all who are not Jews, some say that it is like a house pet and so on. It seems okay to see here that in His final test to the woman Jesus bringing her faith to its final test: Faith clings to the object of its worship, it will not settle for anything less than that which comes from Him. So be it if it is the crumbs that are left for the dogs, the leftovers so to speak. All the mattered to her at this point is that her only hope was that which came from the hand of the Messiah. Whatever He wanted to give, she would gladly receive.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

May we in our circumstances of life be instructed and encouraged by this teaching. Our worship is a worship of the heart and not merely the following of some rituals or traditions which do not illustrate or magnify the heart of God through Christ for the world. We all know and understand that our fallen hearts are continually trying to delude us into making idols of something or someone. We are to guard our hearts for out of it flow the issues of life.

May we also be encouraged by the example of the faith of the woman from Canaan, who believed in the Messiah, and did not faint at His "hiding" of Himself. He rewarded her faith, for her faith did not let go of the Promise who was standing before her and who by all outward appearances, did not care about her and her needs. Instead of giving up, she persisted in her request that He grant unto her her request on behalf of her daughter.

The encouragement to persevering prayer, especially to parents anxious for their children, is so obvious that it need only be named. That silence first, and then these apparent refusals, are trials of faith, to which many earnest hearts have not been strangers. To all such the example of this woman of Canaan is of great value. Her earnestness in making the case of her daughter her own (she does not say, "Have mercy on my daughter"; but, "Have mercy on me"; and again, "Lord, help me"), and her unconquerable perseverance till the answer came, have been an inspiration ever since, and will be to the end of the world.

May the Holy Spirit give unto you/me application into our lives today so that we may not only be assured and empowered, but that we might perserve through trust in the One from whom all blessings flow, Jesus the Christ!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 17 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.