Tag Archives: the book of Matthew

“’Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts — murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.’”  (Matthew 15:17-20, NIV)

At the time that Jesus spoke these words, his audience was keenly interested in maintaining ritual purity.  Eating with unwashed hands was a violation of the rules of ritual purity.  In a way, it was a kind of “spiritual etiquette.”  In other words, if you had good “spiritual manners,” you were deemed to be a good person.  Even today, there is a kind of etiquette that confers acceptance on the consumption of the right foods, the wearing of the right clothes, residence at the right address, and friendship with the right kind of people.

Jesus’ words serve to remind us that it is not what we put into our mouth that makes us impure or unclean; but it is what we allow to come out of our mouth, since that is indicative of what is in our heart.  As important as it may be to our physical health for us to watch what we eat; it is as important to our spiritual and physical health for us to watch what we say, both to others and about others.  Only the latter — the condition of the heart — is of eternal consequence.  – Luther

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“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  (Matthew 24:44, NIV)

It is typical of God that He first gives us the answers before giving us the test.

In these final chapters of Matthew’s Gospel (chapters 24-25), Jesus is emphatic in His teaching about the nature of the kingdom of heaven; and He is equally emphatic in His teaching about the final judgment of God, and what is required of you and me.  You see, Jesus wants everyone to pass; but everyone must pass with his or her own work.  No cheating.

The key to successfully facing any crisis — whether financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual — is readiness.  The time to get ready is now.  The adage is never more true: “You cannot give what you do not have.”

Are you ready?  – Luther

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“So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.  He remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’”  (Matthew 2:14-15a, NASB)

Egypt. Time and again in the Bible, Egypt becomes the place of exile and pain.  Joseph (of many-colored coat fame; please see Genesis 37 for details) found himself in Egypt after being sold by his brothers.  The Children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt in what is known as the Exodus.  And now, the Christ child is taken to Egypt by His parents to escape Herod’s slaughter of children.

Exile may have its purposes, but it, nevertheless, also had its own proximate difficulties: Loneliness, unfamiliarity, suffering.

Have you ever been exiled to your own “Egypt”?  Are you there today?

If you are, be resolute in the knowledge that God is in “Egypt” with you; that God will never forsake you; and that God will, in the fullness of time, deliver you.  – Luther

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