rather than just the letter of the Law. He did not shy away from making things awkward with the Jewish leaders of this important nuisance. However, this turned to not be a true nuisance but a very contentious matter. This week we will see another aspect of this that also made the Jewish leaders at odds with Jesus.
Jesus exposed the error of their thinking process. In Matthew 5, Jesus stated that keeping the Law was a heart matter and not a matter of ritual. He stated that although Moses commanded to not commit adultery, this even meant that if anyone lusted after another woman other than his wife he was still guilty of breaking the command just as if they had actually committed the act.
Later, in Matthew 15, Jesus stated that “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean,” because these things come from one’s heart. There is no hedge that one can put around one’s thought process, or not very easily. This teaching from Jesus angered the Jewish leaders because for them to accept this it would mean that everything they had been doing and all of their superiority in leading such dedicated lives of devotion to the Law of Moses based upon deeds was all wrong and their righteousness was indeed “as filthy rags” as stated by Isaiah (Is64:6). They just could not accept this.
When one is faced with real truth, there is usually two polar opposite responses. One either realizes the error of their ways and embraces the truth, or the person vehemently opposes what is being stated and rejects the truth presented. Unfortunately, the Jewish leaders responded the latter way.
Do we not do the same thing? We have our traditions that we do and like. However, sometimes we cannot even give a reason for the tradition even when we do stop to think why. The original intent is lost. Yet when someone points out the true original intent we get mad because that does not now fit with our preconceived ideas as to why we have the tradition. Or, perhaps the tradition has morphed into something not recognized by the original intent. I think this is more likely what happened here. The Jewish leaders had focused so long on the obedience component of the Law, they no longer stopped to think of the original intent of the obedience. Therefore, the obedience became the focal point rather than the intent of the Law one’s obedience was portraying. Sometimes, we, too, need to stop and look at why we do what we do and see if God has a lesson for us that is not at first obvious. God can teach us new things from old things if we stop long enough to hear what He is teaching.
Was Jesus a Radical?
Jesus and Jewish Training
Heaven Prior to Christ's First Coming