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Jesus -- the Guru #30

 Jesus against Religious Attitudes


In previous emails, we saw how Jesus was opposed to a religion of rules. Now we will see how Jesus’ attitude toward different kinds of people was different because His religion was different. Of course, Jesus was immediately opposed by those who had built this oppressive system of religion.


A. Jesus’ Attitude toward “Superior” People


At Jesus’ time, some religious people (like the Pharisees) used religious rules to make themselves superior to others. They followed these rules and condemned people who didn’t.


In the incident we just looked at in Mt. 15, Jesus’ disciples had broken the rule about washing hands before a meal. Obviously, this is a good, hygienic practice. But is a person to be condemned if he fails to do this? Are they inferior people? Are they to be despised and looked down upon? Are they rejected by God? Is this the kind of matter religion should give importance to?


Read Matthew 15:10-20.




10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand.11What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ ”


12Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”


13He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.14Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”


15Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”


16“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.17“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.20These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”



 


What does Jesus say should be the concern of religion? How does Jesus think we should judge other people? If you are going to call someone religiously “unclean,” what should you be looking for? (vv. 18-20)


Jesus is saying that God is only interested in people’s character. He doesn’t care about rules or status or religious traditions. God judges the heart. Jesus calls us to look at people the same way: by their character, by their heart.


Have you ever been put down or called “unclean” because of some man-made religious or social rule? Have you ever done that to other people? What does Jesus say to you as His disciple?


Looking forward to your comments,


 


Yesudas


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