Heart Trouble!
Matthew 15:1-20

What a change from last week – boats, seas, storms, men scared for their lives, faith, a miracle – walking on water, Jesus
leading his group, seeing their weakness and growth through a hair-raising experience. Chuztpah – who had it? was it
good? Funs things to wrestle with and talk about.
But now, we are pulled back into the grind, the irritation throughout Matthews gospel > the powerful, annoying,
“religious” bureaucratic leaders with those rules, many of which were unwritten rules.
We all have them > in families, in friendships, schools, clubs, businesses > and churches.
QUESTION: Can you think of some unwritten rules you deal with? At Gethsemane (be careful) Shalom, Potters
-KSC limit your cussing.
-OK to be a little late to work on Fridays.
-Don’t bring up Donald Trump (I poked the bear once and she performed.)
-You can hunt there cause Billy Bob’s been hunting that area for 45 years.
-Church – If a song has 4 verses, sing 1,2 and 4 th stanza (verse) of songs. (Jim Bledsoe breaks that one all the time!)
-Church – the super Christians go to visitation – door to door inviting people to church.
-Garage Church – don’t mess with the front desk when they’re checking you in for Anger Management.
-Garage Church – don’t go in the back without official personnel.
-Garage Church – don’t touch the thermostat.
**These things become traditions, which then become unofficial laws.**
OK, I got it out there, I hate this stuff but I’m sure I have some unwritten rules of my own.
(READ V1-9)
1 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, 2“Why do your
disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says,
‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But
you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I
would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of
God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-
made ideas as commands from God.’ ”
10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into
your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” 12 Then the disciples came to
him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” 13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not
planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one
blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” 15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that
says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.” 16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes
through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles
you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These
are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
1) V1 Where did the leaders come from and why is this significant?
Jerusalem. This was significant because Jerusalem was the “capital” of Israel, the holy city, the epicenter of Judaism
QUESTION: Where was Jesus doing his ministry? North. Where was Jerusalem? South, four days walk.
2) V2 What was the question that the Jerusalem leaders asked?

Why Jesus disciples disobeyed the tradition of ceremonial hand washing.
What problems do you see in V1-2? Several things here regarding how NOT TO BE/NOT TO DO:
#1 The pharisees, who were experts in the law (OT) brought backup experts, the teachers of religious laws (scribes,
learned guardians of the law with comprehensive knowledge.) Why would they need to do that? To find fault any way
possible. Looking for a gotcha.
#2 They accused the disciples but not Jesus. Why? Indirect, because Jesus was popular, so let’s go after these other guys.
#3 “Age old tradition” – They were concerned about some of their own rules, not God’s. Later 135-200AD – written as
the Mishnah and carried more authority than the Law itself.
#4 “Our” tradition – our rules we made – took any authority they had as “priests/leaders” and started making rules, and
kept these rules for literally hundreds of years.
#5 What was the rule they were upset about? Washing your hands before meals. Is it a good idea to wash your hands
before meals? Yes. Is that worth walking four days to correct a group of twelve guys that weren’t washing their hands
before meals? Isn’t it a little odd in the first place to have national rules for handing washing for adults.
All I can say is > heavy sigh! Religious leaders of a nation?!?!
But wait, how many Christians denominations are there in the US, All with different beliefs, traditions, ways of doing this
and that.? More than 200, staggering 45,000 worldwide.
Jesus: “And the world will know about me by how you love one another” Love God (vertical) Love Others (horizontal)
What a mess has been made. But in our sphere, we can do this!
Important: We’re not leaders of large groups. So why talk about this? Because: “And the world will know about me by
TRADITIONS MORE IMPORTANT GOD’S WORD, THE BIBLE This very thing has been a major hindrance to the
spread of the gospel.
SLIDE Personal rules and boundaries are needed and important. But, a personal rule you make for yourself should not be
forced on others.
3) V3-6 How does Jesus respond?
Short answer: directly, not indirectly. Refutes untruth with truth.
Log in the eye: V3 Your traditions violate God’s law. Example – claim to give money to God, so now I can’t take care of
my aging parents. Tradition: If you vow to give something to God you shouldn’t break the vow.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and mother . . . . “You made a workaround with your tradition”
4) V7-9 How does Jesus sum it up to the Pharisees?
You’re a hypocrite. (This is the first time he calls them Hypocrites) and quotes Isaiah. !!Chutzpah!!
Was Jesus angry? I think so. But is it wrong to be angry? No, it’s what you do with your anger.
What does Jesus do with his anger? V10 Then he called to the crowd to come and hear. He starts teaching. Di he just
redirect himself? Seems so. And, rather than talk bad about the Pharisees to the crowd, he begins teaching them (and us)
to – not to look at the Pharisees – but to take a look at themselves & ourselves.

READ V10-20
5) V12-14 What was the issue and what was Jesus’ response?
The disciples were concerned about Jesus’ offending the Pharisees, the “authorities.” Jesus wasn’t. !!Chutzpah!!
Plants – remember the parable about wheat and tares– QUESTION: What did it say: some plants look like good plants
but are actually weeds. In the parable the weeds were allowed to grow with the wheat and be separated at the end. Jesus
said, “Ignore them.”
The confrontation was obviously a big deal to the disciples. Still growing in their faith.
QUESTION: Are there things/people you fear that you shouldn’t? Wealthy people. People different than you. Officials
(fear going beyond respect.) It’s really a question of how secure we feel as a Jesus follower. What’s our true level of
Something worth thinking about.
6) V11,15-20 What is the teaching from Jesus?
SLIDE What proceeds from the HEART, and then out of the MOUTH, is more important than food we eat.
Motives and attitudes are more important than what we eat.
Let’s dig into this:
When we do something, it's the interior world of the heart that leads to those actions. It's precisely because this interior
world reveals itself in our behavior that we must keep our hearts pure.
Jesus wants us to be our best selves, who he created us to be. Some of what that looks like is right actions, good deeds,
decent behavior, and honorable character. But these things are ultimately and consistently producible only if we keep our
hearts pure and are committed to honor God in the way we live.
QUESTION: How do you keep your heart pure? Daily?
Rise early – Prayer and reading and writing, fasting. Keeping wrong things out of my head, which can work their way to
my heart – for starters – what I hear, what I see.
SLIDE REWIRED BRAIN – Review – I need to pin this up everywhere – whenever I’m making a decision.

Don’t bog your spiritual life down with “Christian” rules made by men.
Do maintain personal rules and boundaries that you need for yourself.
Do guard your heart.