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Matthew 15:10-20: Blind Leading the Blind

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 3, 2012


Matthew 15:10-20 MKJV And He called the crowd and said to them, Hear and understand. (11) Not that which goes Blind Leading the Blindinto the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. (12) Then His disciples came and said to Him, Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? (13) But He answered and said, Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. (14) Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (15) Then Peter answered and said to Him, Explain this parable to us. (16) And Jesus said, Are you also still without understanding? (17) Do you not yet understand that whatever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the waste-bowl? (18) But the things which come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile the man. (19) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; (20) these are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.

Ahimaaz and Cushi walked along the crowded street. “I think this is a little too crowded, and I know all the good spots are taken because we are late. I told you to hurry up. You’re always making me late. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with you at all.” Cushi answered, “I’m sorry Ahimaaz. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future.” Ahimaaz snapped back, “I hope so. I know of another gate. Not as many people with little if any competition. We will have to hurry. God knows what you have cost me already.” Ahimaaz turned left on the next street and picked up the pace. Cushi hung onto his arm trying to keep up.

Cushi considered himself lucky to make friends with Ahimaaz, who seemed to know all the in and outs of the street. It was said Ahimaaz could charm the hump off a camel. His reputation preceded him. In his business this was not a good attribute, as most people intentionally avoided him. This created the need for a new partner.

The going was rough. Ahimaaz bumped into person after person, with Cushi begging forgiveness along the way. The air was filled with the smell of fresh baked bread, the distinct odor of camels, donkeys, and the occasional sheep. The sound of chickens and children playing could be heard in the back ground. It was difficult to hear anything over the calls of the merchants. Cushi asked, “how much further?” Ahimaaz assured him, “it is just around the corner. I know this place well. We should have come here in the first place because this is the place a lot of wives with rich husbands shop. It should be easy pickings here.” At times young Cushi did not appreciate Ahimmaz’s attitude, but it seemed he had no choice. Since loosing his parents, finding a friend, someone to take care of him was difficult. And it seemed Ahimaaz knew what he was doing, most of the time.

“We are almost there, it is right around the corner.” Ahimaaz reached back, pulled on Cushi’s arm in a show of dissatisfaction. Suddenly the earth disappeared from below their feet. In a flash a sense of helplessness filled Cushi’s heart. A second later he landed on Ahimaaz with a thud. “Get off me you fool”, Ahimaaz shouted as he pushed Cushi off him, shouting, “Why did you push me? I could have easily avoided this if it wasn’t for you.” Once again Cushi offered his apology as they both scrambled up the side of the pit. “This wasn’t here last came I came this way,” Ahimaaz stated as he cursed their misfortune.

With a feeling of embarrassment gripping both of them, they could feel the stares cast upon them. “Let’s hurry, time to set up shop. Who knows what you cost me this time. We will have to wait for new people to come past. Here is a good spot. Now do you remember what I told you? Try and look pitiful this time.” Having received instructions, Cushi sat down with his back against a wall, took out his bowl and began his chant. “Alms for he blind. Alms for the blind. Won’t you please help me? I promise you the blessing of God for helping a blind boy.”

Jesus was still sitting among His disciples. He had already answered the Pharisees question about their tradition of washing hands, wondering how they had misapplied the ceremonial law given to Aaron and his sons. “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet there. When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water so that they do not die. Or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they do not die. And it shall be a statute forever to them, to him and to his seed throughout their generations.” Exodus 30:19-21 MKJV. How could they misinterpret such a simple command?

Jesus thought of the practical concept of their doctrine. Jesus knew about the threat of germs and how they could be spread by hands. Washing hands before eating is particle, but has nothing to do with working your way into Heaven, or gaining favor with God. For a moment Jesus considered explaining this to the Pharisees, but this was not the time to introduce a subject they knew nothing about. How could Jesus explain things they could not see if they could not accept and understand the miracles and words they have seen and heard? How could He explain spiritual concepts to them when they believed their traditions were more important than God’s written Word?

So He called the crowd and said to them, Hear and understand. “Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” This was simple and easy to understand on the spiritual level, but how does one move people from the physical and open their minds to spiritual truth? Jesus knew their minds would be centered on clean and unclean foods. Did they notice, people who ate unclean food did not instantly show signs of deterioration? If they could not see the implications of consuming germs which case disease, they certainly could not see the effects unclean food had on the body. Health concerns were not at the center of their traditions. Separating people based on their personal judgment was. This was the most vile form of prejudice. Were the Pharisees questioning why they could not see a spontaneous effect from eating unclean food? If they considered His answer, they must certainly see how a man’s words coming out of his mouth can negatively effect and hurt others.

Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” The disciples also knew how the Pharisees were not going to understand Jesus’ particle metaphor. Jesus looked at them, thanking God they were finally considering how His teaching effected different people. Some listened with an open heart, and quickly accepted His words. Others meditated on His words, comparing them to scripture. Then there were some who had readily rejected Him, and measured His words against traditions they had be taught. Did the disciples understand the dramatic effect doctrine and tradition had on a relationship with God, and total trust in His Word? Finally He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

Jesus prayed the disciples could see and understand how traditions separated them from God by placing the wisdom of men between themselves and God. He asked the Spirit to give them the wisdom to remember John’s preaching about trees? “The axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10 MKJV) He also prayed they could understand the implications of being spiritually blind, and what the ditch represented. He knew this was vital information for them to learn, and teach.

Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” Jesus knew Peter was not questioning plants, or the blind. By the look in Peter’s eyes, He could tell he had a question on the food entering through the mouth, and what cames out of it. So He said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the waste-bowl? But the things which come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Jesus connected the human heart to thoughts in the hope their minds would be drawn back to the parable of the sower. He wanted them to understand, people needed the Word sown in their hearts. Especially hardened hearts filled with evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, lies, and lacking the knowledge of God.

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