Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 16 - Matthew 15

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 15. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • This chapter starts with religious leaders challenging Jesus. The religious leaders ask Jesus why he lets his followers break the traditions of the elders. Jesus responds with two points:
    1. The religious leaders disobey God’s commands for the sake of their traditions, and
    2. They aren’t really concerned about God.
  • After giving an answer to the religious elite, Jesus tells everyone that it’s not what goes into the mouth that makes a person unclean but what comes out. The religious leaders were focused on religious traditions such as what people ate, but Jesus says it's the evil that comes out of our heart that matters, and that can separate us from God.
  • Next, Jesus interacts with a Canaanite woman (not an Israelite). She begs Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus tells her that his mission was to the people of Israel. But this didn’t stop the faith of the woman. She isn't demanding or forceful. She simply knows that Jesus can and will heal her daughter, which makes her persistent in the face of resistance. Jesus heals her daughter, revealing that his mission was not truly only to the people of Israel. Perhaps by telling her that, he was testing the persistence of her faith.
  • The chapter ends with Jesus miraculously feeding four thousand people (not including the women and children who would have been there). After healing those who were sick or had a lifelong ailment, Jesus provides sustenance so that the people can make it home. Jesus has great compassion on those who come to him. 

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In this chapter one group (the religious leaders) approach Jesus demanding an answer, and they receive correction. A woman approaches Jesus humbly approaches Jesus asking for a miracle for her daughter and she receives it. A group approaches Jesus seeking healing for the sick, and he gives not only healing, but a miraculous supply of food as well. How we approach Jesus, and why we approach him, are critical and significant factors in how he responds to us.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What do you want from Jesus? More faith? Healing for a hurt in your life? A miracle for someone you love? Are you asking him for it? And how are you approaching him? With a humble heart? Or demanding because you believe it's something you deserve? Why don't you make today a day of humbly asking Jesus for something important you really want?