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Matthew 15


The next day, while Jesus was teaching the crowd, some hecklers who also happened to be ordained ministers asked him, "Why don't your Disciples wash their hands before they eat? It is our religious law that people wash their hands before they eat, to remain clean in body and spirit."

Jesus tried to cover up his irritation at such a lame accusation, but went on the offensive anyway, "And you never break any of your laws? You hypocrites!" He would've been great on CNN's Crossfire! He then began to pick apart some minor discrepancies in Jewish law for the crowd.

The ministers interrupted, "You haven't answered our question! Answer the question!"

So, Jesus called the crowd closer and lowered his voice, saying, "Listen to me. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean'. Only the words that come out of a man's mouth can make him 'unclean'."

-----

Later, during a break, some of his aides cautioned Jesus, "Do you realize you are offending powerful religious leaders when you criticize our Jewish laws and customs? Did you not once teach us that we are to follow the Jewish Law?"

Jesus replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

This led to a bunch of blank stares among his aides.

Peter, the Disciple, asked, "Could you please explain what you meant by that, Sir?"

"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. "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 the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'"

His aides nodded, but Peter continued, "Sir, I am concerned that you are getting so worked up about such a minor thing. You've seemed quick to anger lately, and you've deeply irritated the local religious bigwigs. I think it is time you took a vacation to meditate and gather your strength. We Disciples will continue to spread your message while you rest."

After a heated argument, Jesus agreed to take a week's vacation on the beach in Lebanon.

-----

While he was tanning himself on the beach, a woman recognized Jesus as that famous preacher from Israel. She came over and asked for his blessing, "Lord, Royal Descendant of King David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from mental illness."

Jesus groaned and muttered under his breath. He then stood up and declared, "Assistants, please remove this woman! Woman, I was sent only to help the lost sheep of Israel, not you Lebanese."

The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

-----

After his vacation, Jesus returned to the free health care tour, followed by crowds of thousands wherever he went. The logistical problems associated with such crowds were enormous, and his aides were unable to secure enough food.

So, once again Jesus performed his food miracle, after which, he climbed back into the Jesus Boat, and sailed to his next stop.


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