The Monthly Bread Archives
Matt 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (13) But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (KJV)
In Matt 15:12-13, Jesus addresses the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees, and encounters resistance as He puts His finger directly on their problem: hypocrisy. His sayings, previously spoken in Matt 15:7-11, exposed their need by challenging their religious pretense under the Jewish system of the law. They used their lips to say the right things and observed the right practices of worship, but their hearts were far from being sincere. Jesus was aware that beyond the appearances, God was uninvolved in any of their spiritual devotion and activity. So this confrontation was designed to send a message, that anything short of genuine love was pointless and unacceptable.
It is then, no small wonder that words spoken by Jesus were met with such resistance, since the correction was toward all religious leaders running things their own way and without God. Jesus wanted both the Pharisees and disciples to realize that their reaction in of itself, was an indication that something was wrong in how they related to God spiritually. Being offended is always a clear sign that one has little regard for truth and is defending their own position.
It also appears by the reaction of the disciples, that they still put some value in what their religious peers thought. Their politically correct attitude seemed to lean toward taking the middle road. Jesus goes on to explain to them, that even though they respected the authority of these Pharisees and were somewhat confused at the strong approach He took toward them, it was of absolute necessity that He unveil and reveal where they placed their true loyalty. Perhaps this was Jesus' way of flushing out the phonies. It is so hard for some people to spot the religious pretenders or false brethren today because they seldom test the fruit of someone's character to see whether God is there. It is admirable to want to believe the best about people and not live life in the cynical lane, but this still does not entitle us to neglect our responsibility to test the spirits of things.
1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)
The plain truth Jesus teaches his disciples here is that people easily offended by the word of God show their weakness through an unreceptive and unyielding ear to listen and perform what God commands. Let's face facts: A bad receiver will be little in faith because "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." The more stubborn and obstinate a person becomes, the clearer it is to see how unstable they really are in the kingdom of God. It becomes evident that they are built on shaky ground instead of a strong foundation in Christ. One can be rooted in the things about Christ without directly digging in for themselves. A man or woman who walks in truth will not be sad or mad by the instruction of the Lord. Their response is one of joy. Those who see its worth realize how helpful it is for their spiritual well-being, and readily accept it.
Prov 9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. (NIV)
Jesus goes on further to say that if what appears to be planted in the kingdom for growth is easily uprooted, then it was not the Father's planting in the first place. This is primarily true because God's seed always endures. If the sowing and nurturing process is done His way, then you can be assured that there will be no spiritual breakdown, only the fruit that God desires. No matter how great the adversity, the failure never lies in God's provision but in man's decision to choose correctly.
The same standard still applies today, when it comes to God approaching every heart. His word is rejected by those who attempt to cover their nakedness while it clothes the obedient with righteousness. Nothing offends a heart that loves the word of God. In other words, there is no offense to the one that sees its importance to help their life. The storms of self-will have subsided and the soul is left in calm. This is the reward of peace for all who cease from striving against God's will. Ambitions and goals have become transparent as it is realized, for the first time, that there is no higher aspiration than to follow the path provided. The concern is not how high one climbs, but whether or not one climbs at all.
Ps 119:165 Great peace have they which love
thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (KJV)