This chapter marks the beginning of Jesus’s antagonistic relationship with the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees of the Jewish Temple establishment. In the first verses of this chapter (vv. 1-23) we see Jewish confronting and challenging and even superseding the old Jewish traditions and replacing them with the newness of His Messiahship that will culminate in his Death and Resurrection. Notice the focus on exterior versus interior cleanliness; notice the harsh words that Jesus has for hypocrisy.
Jesus then has an interaction with a Greek woman (vv. 24-30). The woman has a sick daughter and it is culturally taboo for Greeks and Jews to intermingle in any way. Jesus uses the opportunity to break down that barrier, that taboo. The woman too, convinced of Jesus’s power and His divinity, breaks the boundary on her side and humbles herself even more to receive the Lord’s healing for her daughter.
Finally, this chapter closes with Jesus healing a deaf person (vv. 31-37). The details of Jesus putting his hands on the man’s tongue, spitting and groaning seem weird. But Jesus will come to explain that healing, and even prayer, are not necessarily matters for words or even, to an extent, actions. But are instead the fruit of deep, wordless prayer that originates and flows from the heart.
Point for Prayer
Read the first 23 verses of this chapter again. And then we great deal of courage and trust in the Lord, reflect on where the Lord might be calling you to change in the same way he challenges the Pharisees and Scribes. Remember, the Lord’s call to conversion to always a gentle call and the change is always change for the better.