Rough week! I’ve been so busy that I literally was getting worried that I didn’t have a week’s worth of articles done. Finally got that today.
Now that you’ve got your text (and if you didn’t like yesterday’s solutions, feel free to agonize right up to the last minute over whether you chose the right text or not…) it’s time to study it.
The first read-through of your text, you’re doing exactly the same thing as other Christians – read and note. However, there’s a lot more demands on a pastor, because 1). You have to teach these people how to rightly divide the word and… 2). if you do badly at it, there’s an uncomfortable question and answer session with Jesus Christ in your future… and you’re not the one doing the asking.
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 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. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:1–9, KJV)
There you go. I chose this Pericope because it’s got a lot, it’s short, and you can start doing some digging. Because I do my study AND my sermon writing in Logos, I’m simply typing the scripture into the go box, and then looking in my passage guide for what commentaries have something on this pericope.
Now, this one I know, because they’re making a reference to a book in Judaism that forms the core of the Mishna, the Rabbinic teachings. This book is called Pirke Avot (tradition of the elders), and literally it was not’ finished at the time! Parts of the Mishnah were done by then… and then of course, after the destruction of Jerusalem, they began assembling the Mishnah and engaged for the next two centuries in the discussions that become the Talmud.
Okay, so I’ve got my commentaries open, the King James open, already set up my right windows (explorer, info, quoted by, lookup and copy bible). I open my highlighters, and start reading.
first thing I want to do is answer the important questions…
Who: Jesus, the Pharisees
What: Arguing about ritual cleanliness
When: This comes just before the Lord ministers to a Gentile for the first time, the Syro-Phoenician woman.
Why: What is commanded?
How: Jesus Christ ultimately points to the heart, and not to the letter. The Pharisees ultimately point to the letter, and the heart is up to you.
You’ve got a lot already. I then spend a minute glossing through my commentaries. Literally, just ten minutes, looking through them. Now, if I wanted to, I could open Quickverse and go through ALL my commentaries, but to a certain extent, they’re all going to be fairly redundant.
What’s the important words of the passages? By repetition, God and commandment. This time, the Lord calls the Pharisees and Scribes (the Sadducees are either not choosing to deal with the Lord yet, or, according to another gospel harmony I’ve seen… they’re still smarting from the last time). I’ll leave that for you to look up. Just because you read it in a commentary or a harmony does not mean it’s accurate!
At this point, I pretty much know what’s going on. It’s not a hard passage, although I see it listed in the Hard Passages books. The Scribes and Pharisees made their own commandments and rituals about washing your hands before you eat, the reasons why (which are logical), and the methods.
When they ask the Lord why He doesn’t do them, nor enjoin His disciples to do it, He essentially turns that around with, “Commandments, yes, let’s talk about that. You’re making commandments that transcend those of God, and you’re just men.”
this started as a question and answer encounter which is common among groups whose practice of Judaism is different. The Lord basically turns and flays them alive with His responses.
Letter of the law vs. Heart. got it. And the word hypocrite is thrown out there.
At this point, you’re ready to start studying, and we’ll tackle that for tomorrow.