Rev. Harrison Goodman, pastor at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Matthew 15:1-20.
Jesus’ teaching continues to grow more direct, and the opposition from the scribes and Pharisees only grows with it. They travel all the way from Jerusalem to question His failure to observe the tradition of the elders. Jesus pulls no punches. He doesn’t let His opponents determine the conversation; He reveals that they have forsaken the Word of God for the sake of their tradition. They have let their fence around God’s Word lead them to overturn God’s Word completely, using the 4th Commandment as their example. It’s not that their traditions were wrong for being traditions. Traditions are helpful when they direct us to what God has commanded. However, the scribes and Pharisees allowed their traditions to replace what God had commanded, leaving their hearts far from Him. Jesus turns to the crowd and His disciples to teach them that God is, in fact, concerned about cleanliness, which is a matter of the heart. Those things that go into a person’s body do not make him unclean; rather, the evil that comes out of the heart defile a person. Jesus shows the true extent of the Law so that His disciples would not follow the blind Pharisees in self-justification, but would instead turn to Him in faith for His gracious justification by faith alone.
“All Righteousness Fulfilled” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that digs into the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The first evangelist proclaims Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike as the fulfillment of God’s saving words and acts throughout the Old Testament. As the Christ in the line of David and Abraham, Jesus is the promised King who comes to bring sinners from every nation to live under His gracious reign.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Traditions and Commandments
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”[a] 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word[b] of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
8 “‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
What Defiles a Person
10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[d] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
- Matthew 15:5 Or is an offering
- Matthew 15:6 Some manuscripts law
- Matthew 15:14 Some manuscripts add of the blind
- Matthew 15:17 Greek is expelled into the latrine
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.