It is very easy for us to become distracted by outward things, very easy to allow rules and regulations to guide our lives…even our spirituality, our relationship with God. In this passage of scripture Jesus interacts with two very different kinds of people…and with these two interactions Jesus reminds us that he is more concerned about the content of our hearts than anything else.
Jesus encounter with the Pharisees:
Disciples come and report… “The Pharisees do not like what you are saying.”
Why? What is it about Jesus teaching that the Pharisees do not like?
Well the Pharisees had built this complex web of “purity codes” that people were to follow that demonstrated spiritual purity. They were good things, but things added to the message of the scriptures and people often felt the burden of trying to keep these purity codes.
Jesus has no patience for spiritual leaders and religion that burdens the people he has come to set free.
Jesus is clear…Spiritual Purity…it is a matter of the heart.
It is not a matter of keeping a long list of man made rules…it has to do with your heart…it is the heart that we need Jesus to redeem, restore and renew.
Now the Canaanite woman…lifted up as a person of great faith.
She comes and is turned away…she is persistent…she will settle for “only a crumb” from Jesus table because she believes that crumb has the power to heal her daughter.
Jesus, who has just got done correcting and chastising the Jewish religious leaders is excited to see the depth of faith within this woman…
“Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
How does Jesus know her faith? … By what comes from her mouth…which flows from her heart! Her heart is revealed to Jesus by what she said…NOT by her maintaining legalistic religious practices.
A question to carry into the week:
ABBA Father,where have I allowed tradition, legalism and the rules of man to get in the way of truly encountering you?