Matthew 15:1-14


A Matter of the Heart


1-2 After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”

3-9 But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:

These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
    but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
    but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
    for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”

10-11 He then called the crowd together and said, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.”

12 Later his disciples came and told him, “Did you know how upset the Pharisees were when they heard what you said?”

13-14 Jesus shrugged it off. “Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.”

Lectio Divina 

Read -- Sit at a table with this devotional. Read this passage with your palms open as a way of communicating that you are open to hear from God.  

Think -- Jesus seems to spend a lot of time provoking the Pharisees by speaking harshly to them. Of all the religious groups in Israel, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees the most. And yet, these are supposed to be the most devout leaders in the entire nation. Joining Jesus in bashing the Pharisees is tempting. Thinking I'm glad I'm not like themis easy. But we often resemble the Pharisees more that we'd like to admit.
     Think back and identify a time when your heart responded to Jesus the way the Pharisees responded to him. What might help you identify the moment when your heart is more Pharisee-like that Jesus-like? Who can you invite to help keep  your heart in check?
     Ponder the words Matthew quotes from Isaiah (verses 8-9). under what circumstances does this describe you? What do you think God wants you do do about it?

Pray -- ask God to give you a Jesus-like heart, one that is humble, transparent, and genuine.

Live -- Invite others to help you keep your heart in check by giving them permission to ask you though heart questions. 


Our Lectio Divina posting is taken from  The Message: Solo - An Uncommon Devotional by Eugene Peterson