Jesus is getting exasperated here! Is that because he is man, or does God get exasperated with us? Did you notice the “edge” in Jesus’ words, even to his disciples?
Jesus even had to leave, walk away from those who were frustrating him. That is a good model for us to follow when our buttons are being pushed. It is always better to retreat so as to avoid saying something in anger that is unkind or not constructive.
What’s happening here? The “churchy” folks are focusing on the wrong law, a tradition set by the people about washing. A “ceremony” they called it. Jesus was upset that the religious leaders were promoting such reliance on tradition, ignoring God’s law. That can be a temptation for us, too. God’s law should always come first.
Can you think of an example in present day? It could certainly be said that the idol of work and money often crowd out God in our life. We all know one of the Commandments is to honor God having no other gods before him. Are you honoring God first? I know I can do a better job of this.
Jesus goes on to get the heart of the matter, literally. He tells us that what we put into our bodies is not what makes us impure or sinful (as they were being taught). It is what comes out of our mouths, our evil thoughts and desires that makes us sinful or unclean. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense to us. Now. We haven’t been brainwashed to think that we need to wash this or avoid that kind of food to be holy. This must have rocked their world.
Today’s reading really personifies Jesus as a “real” person. He showed us a variety of emotions. He also showed us how to deal with them. Keep calm. Retreat to avoid serious confrontation. Explain rationally.
Have you encountered a situation where you were frustrated? How do you react when people insist they are right when you know they are totally off base? Pray and seek God’s peace as you enter these situations.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for this lesson today. There are so many times when I encounter opposition. It was helpful to me to see how Jesus handled this circumstance. Help me to be more like him, to watch my tongue and to speak the truth in love. I will rely on you and your wisdom to know when confrontation is going to be helpful and when retreat is the better option. Thank you for the glorious opportunities you have put before me this day. May my heart be cleansed and pure. Replace my sinful tendencies with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.