What Jesus Did! 'Why? Don't!' — Matthew 15:1-2

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus. They came from Jerusalem and asked Jesus, "Why do your followers not obey the rules given to us by our great people that lived before us? Your followers don't wash their hands before they eat!"
— Matthew 15:1-2
Illustration of Matthew 15:1-2 — "Why do your followers not obey the rules given to us by our great people that lived before us? Your followers don't wash their hands before they eat!"

Key Thought

Isn't it interesting how some criticisms come disguised as questions! "Why don't?" The Pharisees and teachers of the Law weren't looking for truth, but looking to set a trap. In fact, most of their questions to Jesus and criticisms of Jesus are of the "Why?" and "Don't!" variety. Always critical, never seeking. Always condemning, never redeeming. For them, it was all about rules. Their rules! Of course, when rules and laws predominate, whoever gets to enforce the rules gets to determine who is good and who is not. That's nice, because those trying to impose rules never have to get around to worrying about being godly themselves.
There is a key warning for us here, too! We must avoid the "Why?" and "Don't!" heart in ourselves. We can get so pre-occupied with pointing out everyone else's faults that we never get around to our own. In the process, like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, we will miss the truth and the truth tellers while protecting ourselves and our traditions.

Today's Prayer

Father, please remove all of my cynicism, pettiness, and callousness to your children. Use me to be redemptive and not antagonistic. Deliver me from being hard headed and hard hearted. Through the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus. They came from Jerusalem and asked Jesus, "Why do your followers not obey the rules given to us by our great people that lived before us? Your followers don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus answered, "And why do you refuse to obey God's command so that you can follow those rules you have? God said, 'You must honor (respect) your father and mother.' And God also said, 'Any person that says bad things to his father or mother must be killed.' But you teach that a person can say to his father or mother, 'I have something I could use to help you. But I will not use it to help you. I will give it to God.' You teach that person to not honor his father. So you teach that it is not important to do what God said. You think that it is more important to follow those rules you have. You are hypocrites ! Isaiah was right when he spoke about you. Isaiah said: 'These people say they honor me, but they don't really make me an important part of their lives. Their worship of me is for nothing. The things they teach are only rules that people have made.'" Jesus called the people to him. Jesus said, "Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not the things a person puts in his mouth that make him wrong. It is the things a person says with his mouth that make him wrong." Then the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees are angry because of what you said?" Jesus answered, "Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from the Pharisees. They lead the people, but they are like blind men leading other blind men. And if a blind man leads another blind man, then both men will fall into a hole." Peter said, "Explain to us what you said earlier to the people." Jesus said, "You still have trouble understanding? Surely you know that all the food that enters a person's mouth goes into the stomach. Then that food goes out of the body. But thebad things a person says with his mouth come from the way a person thinks. And these are the things that make a person wrong. All these bad things begin in a person's mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, saying bad things against other people. These things make a person wrong. But not washing his hands before he eats does not make a person wrong."

Matthew 15:1-20

Related Scripture Readings

Then Jesus spoke to the people and to his followers. Jesus said, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the authority (power) to tell you what the law of Moses says. So you should obey the things they say. You should do all the things they tell you to do. But their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they don't do those things themselves. They make strict rules that are hard for people to obey. They try to force other people to obey all those rules. But they themselves will not try to follow any of those rules.

Matthew 23:1-4

So while the Pharisees were together, Jesus asked them a question. Jesus said, "What do you think about the Christ ? Whose son is he?" The Pharisees answered, "The Christ is the Son of David. " Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Then why did David call him 'Lord'? David was speaking by the power of the {Holy} Spirit. David said, 'The Lord (God) said to my Lord (Christ): Sit by me at my right side, and I will put your enemies under your control. ' David calls the Christ 'Lord.' So how can he be David's son?" None of the Pharisees could answer Jesus' question. And after that day no person was brave enough to ask Jesus any more questions {to try to trick him}.

Matthew 22:41-46

So don't do anything to hurt {other people}, don't lie, don't do things to fool people, don't be jealous, don't say bad things about people. Put all these things out of your life. Be like babies that are newly born. Be hungry for the pure milk (teaching) that feeds your spirit. By drinking that you can grow up and be saved.

1 Peter 2:1-2

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.