From Heaven With Love


Chapter 42—Christ Foretells a Great Uprooting

This chapter is based on Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23.

The mission of the Twelve, indicating the extension of Christ's work, had excited anew the jealousy of the leaders at Jerusalem. The spies sent to Capernaum in the early part of Christ's ministry were put to confusion, but now another deputation was sent to watch His movements and find some accusation against Him. HLv 264.1

As before, the ground of complaint was His disregard of traditional precepts professedly designed to guard the observance of the law. Among the observances most strenuously enforced was ceremonial purification. Neglect of the forms to be observed before eating was accounted a heinous sin. HLv 264.2

The life of those who tried to observe the rabbinical requirements was one long struggle against ceremonial defilement. While the people were occupied with trifling observances, their attention was turned away from the great principles of God's law. HLv 264.3

Christ and His disciples did not observe ceremonial washings. The spies did not, however, make a direct attack on Christ, but came to Him with criticism of His disciples: “Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” HLv 264.4

Jesus made no attempt to defend Himself or His disciples. He proceeded to show the spirit that actuated these sticklers for human rites. He gave them an example of what they were repeatedly doing: “Full well ye reject the commandment of God,” He said, “that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death; but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more aught for his father or his mother.” An undutiful child had only to pronounce the word Corban over his property, and he could retain it for his own use during his lifetime, and after his death it was to be appropriated to the temple service. Thus he was at liberty to dishonor and defraud his parents, under cover of a pretended devotion to God. HLv 264.5

Jesus commended the poor woman who gave her all to the temple treasury. But the apparent zeal for God on the part of the priests and rabbis was a pretense to cover a desire for self-aggrandizement. Even the disciples of Christ were not wholly free from the yoke of inherited prejudice and rabbinical authority. By revealing the true spirit of the rabbis, Jesus sought to free all who were really desirous of serving God. HLv 265.1

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Christ declared that by placing their requirements above the divine precepts, the rabbis were setting themselves above God. Jesus explained that defilement comes not from without, but from within. Purity and impurity pertain to the soul. HLv 265.2