Last week I confused two locations at the end of chapter six (v53), the coastal city Genneserat on the NW shore of Sea of Galilee and the region of the Gerasenes on the SW shore of the Sea of Galilee with the cities Gergesa, Gadana. and Geresa shown.
6:53-56 Jesus and His disciples has been in this region before when they visited Capernaum and went throughout Galilee. The people remembered and recognized Jesus and with great caring and charity brought their sick to Him to be healed. They knew what He had done before and what He could do if only they could get their sick to Him, so they carried the sick on mats to Him wherever they heard He was.
7:1-13 The Pharisees and teachers of the law traveled 80 miles to meet Jesus. They were looking to find fault with Him. They saw none of the miracles, they only saw unwashed hands. That was the best they could do for they had made a tradition a washing intended for priests prior to entering the tabernacle of God as shown in Exodus 30:17-21.
Jesus instead of accepting what they had to say made it clear they were elevating tradition over God’s word so they could put on an act of worship. Jesus then attacked how they used tradition to avoid God’s commands by giving the example of Corban where a person had only to say the word Corban over any possession and it was irrevocably dedicated to the temple.
From Jesus we learn this is not only a sin against ones parents, but is an act of rebellion against God’s commandment. Jesus’ reply was so strong they had nothing to say.
No reply. Nothing. They are overwhelmed by His reply.
7:14-23 Immediately Jesus addresses the crowd that had been watching the interchange between Himself and the Pharisees and their teachers of the law.
He makes clear defilement begins within a person and proceeds outward. He was confronting those who thought or believed a person could achieve genuine holiness through legalistic observances. In other words religiosity is powerless to cleanse the heart.
Like many of us, including me, the disciples had to get over their legalistic way of thinking as well. In doing so, He made it clear evil thoughts and evil deeds come from the heart which defiles a person. V20 What comes out of a person is what defiles them. A long list defiling thoughts and deeds follows ending with the statement V23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person. Theologically, Jesus’ comments foreshadow the end of the dispensation of the law and the soon to be dispensation of grace.
7:24-30 From Gennesaret Jesus now goes to Tyre (~30 miles) where He will be associating with Gentiles contrary to Jewish law. There a woman, a Gentile (Greek in religion, Syrian in tongue, and Phoenician in race), came seeking a miracle from Jesus.
At first He refuses and seems calloused, but all is not as it seems.
This is a test of a her faith for the children are the Israelites and the dogs are Gentiles. Because of her reply in faith and humility Jesus removes the demon from her daughter. Returning to V15, Jesus is not defiled by this as His act is compassionate and correct.
7:31-37 From Tyre to Sidon back to the shore and then across the Sea of Galilee to the region of Decapolis. If the people in the region where amazed at what Jesus had done for the demon possessed man in chapter 5, here they were overwhelmed with amazement or utterly amazed! While the formally possessed man had surely shared his story as Jesus had instructed him to do, he did not have any physical problems. Here was a man they brought to Jesus who was deaf and dumb, both incredibly real physical problems. Again these were Gentiles and this is made clear when we look at Matthew 15:30-31 where
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. Gentiles praising the God of Israel because of Jesus.
Let’s take another look at Jesus quoting Isaiah 29:13 in verses 6 and 7 of chapter 7
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
This is where the God of Israel is speaking directly to Isaiah
13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Are we any different? Do we care about the lost souls that surround us? In Decapolis they were different. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. Our lame, blind, crippled, and others are the many lost souls around us. Will we, each one of us find a way to tell them about Jesus and His free Gift of Grace. Do we care or will we be quiet as the souls of those around us remain lost?
Or are we merely listening to the Word, but not putting it into practice as those in Ezekiel 33:30-32 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.