Hey, You Kingdom Seekers! If you have made it to today, you have made it halfway!!! Pat yourself on the back or give yourself a round of applause for staying in it! I pray you are learning more and more about the heart of Jesus and how you can develop His heart in your life, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth! That’s why we are HERE! Now, let’s jump into the back half of this awesome book of Matthew!
When was the last time you overlooked a person because of the color of their skin, their size, their clothes, their car, their tattoos, or their piercings? Four weeks ago, I tweeted this: “The blind have an advantage of seeing the heart without being swayed by the outward appearance.“ This is so so true. We disregard so many people because of the externals. Yet it was the Pharisees, who we don’t want to be like, who were all about externals, while Jesus was all about the heart. We have got to surrender our prejudice. It was happening in Jesus’ day, just as it does today, and He was about to totally upset the apple cart!!!
When the Pharisees questioned why the disciples were not washing their hands before they eat, Jesus made it very clear: If man-made traditions nullify the Word of God, then we are out of order. Yet if our actions nullify man-made traditions, but honor the Word of God, we have done absolutely nothing wrong. The Word outranks everything. Stop with the external judgement and prejudice and take the time to get to know the heart. Some who look great on the outside may be wicked on the inside. Some who look different than you on the outside may end up having a heart like Jesus that you fall in love with. Don’t miss out on the getting to know the people God brings across your path!
Jesus then quotes another prophecy from Isaiah 29:13 to these Jews, further reminding them that Jesus is indeed their promised Messiah, and again showing that the New Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven was all about the heart, not the externals. While the Pharisees were concerned about what goes into others’ mouths, Jesus was more concerned about what comes out of their mouths.
Here’s where a blind man has the disadvantage: the blind can never lead. Isn’t it interesting that we won’t do what we can that the blind cannot (lead others down the right path) but we will do what we should not, that the blind don’t (judge and be prejudice). What if we led others by not being prejudice? That’s fully seeing. Selah.
After Jesus “offended” the Pharisees (verse 12)….and can I just say, the Word of God is offensive. It is hard teaching sometimes. And I am saddened at how often in our attempts to get people to come to church, we tiptoe around the hard teachings for fear of running people off. I must get on a soapbox: we have created a generation in which many are unwilling to do the hard work it takes to progress in life. Children will cry and cry because they didn’t get picked for that sport or that play and yet the person who got picked, trained every day, took lessons, and forfeited other things to put in the work necessary. And us grown people do that same! You have no idea how many couples Dale and I have counseled that are shocked when we ask them to do that hard things necessary to keep their marriage together. Beloved, we must be willing to do the hard things. Doing hard things is a necessary part of growth. Doing hard things and seeing a great results, encourages and inspires us to step into even harder things. It grows our faith and helps us fulfill our purpose! Suddenly, we look back and say, “Man, I would have never attempted this years ago, but because of the process of doing something hard and then stepping into something harder, I am somewhere I never thought I could be!” It is incredibly rewarding!!! I believe people want to be challenged to do the hard things….to step out in faith. So let’s stop soft-shoeing everything and just stick to the Word!!! The Word of God offends me all the time!!! Oh God, help us being offended by Your Word to motivate us to do something about it!!! DO HARD THINGS. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. (end of soapbox)
Soooo, after Jesus “offended” the Pharisees, he heads to Tyre and Sidon. Jesus was fully aware that this was an entirely Gentile territory. He was making a statement that there was no prejudice in the Kingdom because it wasn’t about externals. Jesus knew that we would not have these bodies in the New Kingdom. Our bodies are the least of importance, but what a deception of the enemy to make them the most important.
A dialogue begins about Jesus coming only for the lost sheep of Israel and then saying “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” We read that and think Jesus was being rude. Not at all. Jews in Jesus’ day referred to Gentiles as “dogs”. He was saying that His mission was to the Jews and to take His attention off of them would be like taking food away from His child and giving it to their pets. He was testing the woman and revealing an important truth to the disciples. The Jews rejected Him and had NO FAITH, while the Gentiles had MUCH FAITH. The woman’s response was a beautiful display of great faith: “I’ll take the crumbs, because I know Who You are.” And Jesus heals her daughter. She was a Gentile. He was rejected by His own. Yet she had a heart much more beautiful than what was being displayed by the Pharisees. She aligned more with the Kingdom of Heaven than His own people! He was drawn to help those whose hearts were right, not their clothing, looks, etc. Jesus was turning prejudice on its head!
KINGDOM LIVING DROPS ALL PREJUDICE
May today, we make a decision to put to death prejudice in our lives. May we ask the Holy Spirit to show us when we are prejudice and to empower us to not miss a single opportunity to get to know those who cross our paths, even if they are different than we are. May we ask the Lord to help us never overlook those we would normally disregard, because He may have very well put them in our path for a very important purpose.