THE ENEMIES OF THE KING
Text: Book of Matthew 15: 1-39
What we continue to see is as Christ Jesus goes about His ministry, He is rejected more and more by the religious leaders, His “enemies”. They swarm Him bringing their “questions” and their “test” and their foolish attempts to “trap” Him.
What does Christ use to silence them? Just as with Satan in the temptation, Christ Jesus uses the Pure, Holy, Word of God. These things bring forth many opportunities to teach the disciples then and now.
As we continue our work in the Book of Matthew, we get a closer look at a group of people known as the “scribes”.
In the days of Jesus and prior to those days of Jesus there was a great demand for the Law, the Word of God given to Moses. This created a high demand for any who could, “read”, “write” and “interpret” that Law.
They served as secretaries. chroniclers, and even taught in the schools and synagogues. Some would even settle legal matters about the Word of God and the Law in a court of law.
Many of these “scribes” [enemies] went on to become Pharisees. It was the Pharisees that took it upon themselves to keep all the Law and all the Jewish traditions which came from the “oral law” passed down from generation to generation.
Scribes were at times called teacher or Rabbi. Only the “scribes” [enemies] that belonged to the Pharisees(also enemies) in the Sanhedrin [the Supreme Court of the Jews] be involved in judicial decisions.
At this time most all these were “enemies of Christ Jesus.
Mat 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
The very first thing we should see is that the fact that these scribes and Pharisees traveled all the way from Jerusalem indicates the seriousness of their agenda which was to turn the people against Jesus Christ and to rid the world of Him.
We should ask ourselves another question. Where do we find these oral laws or traditions?
What is the Mishna?
The book known as the Mishna is considered to be the cornerstone of Judaism. Its 62 divisions provide the background for every subject of Jewish law (Halacha) found in the Oral Torah.
What is the Gemara?
The Gemara which literally means, “[to] study” or “learning by tradition”) is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi (Judah the Prince about 200 CE), the work was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis in Babylonia and the Land of Israel. Their discussions were written down in a series of books that became the Gemara, which when combined with the Mishnah constituted the Talmud.
What is the Talmud?
The teachings transmitted by the rabbis in the centuries following the destruction of the Second Temple formed the core of what has come to be known as rabbinic Judaism, which still provides the framework for the various types of Judaism practiced today. The most widely studied of these rabbinic teachings are known collectively as the Talmud, which has two parts: Mishnah and Gemara.
The Mishnah is the earlier work, compiled from the teachings of sages living at the end of the Second Temple period and in the century following the destruction of the Temple.
A study book of laws and value statements that express the classical rabbis’ vision of Judaism, the Mishnah’s preoccupation is promotion of a religious and legal tradition both continuous with the past and practical for life in the post-destruction Diaspora. The Mishnah contains multiple opinions on many laws and does not often suggest which is the most authoritative. The plurality of Jewish practice is preserved in the text.
According to the written Word of God given to Moses, God’s written Word will supercede all oral word and traditions.
Exo 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
In other words the covenant God made with Israel is dependant on His Written Word!
There is nothing specifically written about the washing of the hands in the entire Old Testament but in the eyes of these scribes and Pharisees. unclean meats and unclean drinks were permitted as long as you washed your hands for it was the washing of the hands that made what you eat or drink clean. This is not what the Word of God said to the Jew in their dietary laws written in the Bible.
Their accusation about “washing hands” had nothing to do with cleanliness. They were referring to the ceremonial washings of rigidly orthodox Jews:
Mar 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
Mar 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Notice that this attack was aimed at the disciples and not directly at Christ Jesus except for the fact it was Christ who was the teacher and they the students. By making this accusation they were trying to force Christ Jesus to deal with the foundations of Judaism. If Christ Jesus rejected this “Oral Law” then He was certainly a heretic in their eyes.
YOU CANNOT TRAP MY LORD WITH YOUR TRADITIONS NOR WITH MAN’S LAWS!
Mat 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Mat 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
Mat 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mat 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
What we can see is that the disciples were not questioned about conforming to the law of Moses, the written Word of God, they were only questioned about the “oral law” that was added by man. What we see is that Christ Jesus did not even respond to the charges made of these scribes against the disciples. Jesus did not defend nor justify what the disciples had done and Jesus did not apologize for the actions of the disciples.
Christ Jesus simply asked these hypocrites a question:
“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
As proof Christ Jesus referred to the tradition of “Corban”.
Mar 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
Mar 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
Mar 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
The Hebrew word “corban” means “a gift”. It was a tradition of the Jew if he wanted to escape his financial obligations and responsibilities, he could declare his goods to be “Corban” a gift that he would “later” give to God. This meant that he was free from other obligations including caring for his parents which was a commandment of God ‘s written word:
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Christ Jesus used the truth of the Word of God making it clear that obedience to tradition made a person disobedient to the Word of God and this proved that the tradition was false:
Isa 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and [their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men]:
A precept is: any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action.
Man’s word can never be allowed to over rule the Word of God in any age!
Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Knowing that God’s Word is settled in Heaven is all we need to know.
Tradition is something “external” while God’s truth is from the heart and “internal”.
There are many “man made” teachings in the modern day Church that are considered to be authority even though they contradict the Pure Undefiled Word Of God.
God wants our hearts:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 [For with the heart] man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God [with all thy heart], and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [singing with grace in your hearts] to the Lord.
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [obeyed from the heart] that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, [doing the will of God from the heart];
2Co 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2Co 9:7 [Every man according as he purposeth in his heart], so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
The Old Testament Prophet and King David said:
Psa 51:10 [Create in me a clean heart, O God]; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Psa 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psa 51:13 [Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee].
Without a heart that has been plowed deep with the “truth” of the Word of God, we will never be of much use to Our Father who is in Heaven.
Mat 15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
Mat 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Mat 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
Mat 15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
Mat 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Mat 15:15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
Mat 15:16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Mat 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
Mat 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Mat 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Mat 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Christ Jesus “turned away” from these false teachers and “toward” the multitudes using this opportunity to teach them what was uncleanness in the sight of God. Jesus declared to the multitudes that sin comes from the heart, not from any diet.
You see these scribes and Pharisees considered themselves to be clean from within and then wholly acceptable to God in their present form. It is important here to remember what Jesus told Nicodemus who was also a Pharisee:
Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
Joh 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, [Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God].
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 [That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit].
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
We are not clean, not a single one of us, until we are cleaned and washed in the blood of Jesus:
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. [Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,]
We are cleaned by the Word of God if we believe:
Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
This concept was strange even to the Apostles:
Mar 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
Mar 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
Mar 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
Mar 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Mar 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
Mar 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
When evilness continuously comes out from anyone we can be sure it is produced from his evil heart and is not from God. These evils from the inside reveal that a man is still unclean. These Pharisees and scribes, the enemies of God, only concerned them selves with external tradition and rituals to rid themselves of uncleanness which it could never do.
When we think we our works of righteousness are enough to get us into Heaven, then we have made the Word of God to no effect and there was no need for Christ Jesus to ever get on that cross.
Because these scribes and Pharisees place their religion in oral traditions and rituals and not in the Pure Word of God, “the truth”, they then had to reject the Lord of the Truth:
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
They decided they had no need of such righteousness and insisted that their ceremonial cleansings were enough to make them clean and acceptable to God, thus becoming the enemies of God.
Mat 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
Mat 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Mat 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Mat 15:29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.
Mat 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:
Mat 15:31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
Mat 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
Mat 15:33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?
Mat 15:34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
Mat 15:35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
Mat 15:36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mat 15:37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.
Mat 15:38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.
Mat 15:39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
The “enemies” of Christ Jesus had become intense but not only did Christ teach that it was not the foods that were unclean but He showed that going among the Gentiles would not defile you or make you unclean. We can see the ministry of Christ Jesus making a big turn here. The Gentiles were referred to as “dogs” by these Jews.
Aren’t you glad God does not show partiality and every one is on equal standing with the Lord.
Act 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Act 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Christ Jesus was trying to remain out of sight but we know that the true light cannot be hidden:
Mar 7:24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: [but he could not be hid].
We must watch as Jesus shows how faith is revealed even in a Gentile. This woman was not willing to let Christ Jesus out of her life at any cost.
This woman approached Christ Jesus as the “Son of David”. To the Gentile, Jesus was not the Son of David but, He is our Savior. She was exclaiming her faith to Him as the Messiah of God. The Lord would not respond to this woman as King of the Jew but He would respond to her faith as her Savior.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
The disciples were impatient with this woman and did show compassion but not our Lord. He will always be touch by our infirmities when we respond in “faith.
When we can say “Lord help me”, it is then that we know we cannot help our selves and are in need of “The Savior”.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This woman could not be denied and never will anyone that calls on the Lord Jesus Christ in a like manner!
Jesus Christ again healed this Gentile from a distance thus showing in “type” that the Gentiles were “afar off” until Mount Calvary and the Cross.
Christ then departed this region and went into Decapolis. At this time this a league of ten cities who were allowed to mint their own coins, run their own courts, and have their own armies. They were most all Gentiles.
We can see that these Gentiles brought all types of the sick in need of healing and unlike the Jews, they glorified the God of Israel in the person of Jesus Christ.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The Jewish cities had not repented yet these Gentile cities believed.
Christ Jesus had fed the Jews through a miracle and He now would feed the Gentiles through a miracle.
This multitude had been with Christ for three days and surely had used all their own food supplies. These people had already seen the miracles of Christ and had believed now Christ would demonstrate how He would meet their needs. They had already heard His sermons and witnessed the healings. Another more important purpose of this miracle was to teach the twelve disciples.
Again this miracle took place in the hands of Jesus. Christ broke the bread and it multiplied. Everyone ate and the leftovers were gathered. The gifts of God should never be wasted.
The lessons we have learned:
1.) It is usually the religious crowd that are more the enemies of The Lord Jesus Christ. We can know that Satan uses religion to blind the eyes to God’s simple plan of salvation.
2.) We must be aware of all those that would twist and misuse the Pure Word of God.
3.) We must always worship from the heart and not just give lip service.
4.) True holiness comes from the inner man.
5.) We must break free of traditions and lean of the “Grace” of God through faith.
6.) Christ Jesus is a whosoever Savior and is not limited to any one nation or people.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.