Jesus, the Pharisees, and Defilement

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In Matthew 12, the Pharisees accused Jesus of allowing His disciples to break the Sabbath. And we saw that behind the backing and forthing was the contest of who provides true rest to God’s people, Jesus or the Pharisees? Now in Matthew 15, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of allowing His disciples to throw off the tradition of the elders which prescribed ritual hand washing before eating (not to mention separation from Gentiles during eating). And once again, there is an underlying contest: Who leads God’s people to draw near to God in true communion, Jesus or the Pharisees? That is what all this talk of “defilement” has to do with – being acceptable to God and in true fellowship with Him, as well as with His people. Jesus will set the record straight about what really defiles a person. And His teaching, though so familiar we can quote it, is much more profound than we imagine. We need to look at Jesus’ teaching again for the first time. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. -Alan Burrow

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