He 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." Matthew 15:12-14 (NIV)
This passage in Matthew comes right after Jesus had healed a large number of sick at Gennesaret. The Pharisees, always trying to trap the Lord, asked Him why the disciples ate without (ceremonially) washing their hands? They said the disciples broke the Law by doing so.
Jesus answered them with another question, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?" He went on to accuse them of breaking the commandment, Honor your father and your mother. He said that by refusing aid to their parents because any money they had was set aside for God's service was a sin. He also told them that it isn't what goes into a body that makes a man unclean, but rather what comes out of the body - meaning "garbage in, garbage out."
I get a lot of things out of this teaching, but I'll point out a couple of things that really stand out. You might see a whole other aspect to it.
- Jesus makes the glaring point that when we sin in our hearts, we sin. If we want to kill someone, it's as good as done. It's the root of the problem. Acting out the sin is only the end to what we've already begun in our hearts. The same goes for any of the big Ten Commandments.
- Jesus wasn't afraid to offend the Pharisees, or anyone else for that matter. He had a message to tell and He wasn't going to sit and stew about whether it might be too strong or whether someone would get mad at Him, or whatever. He wasn't ashamed of the message and He'd tell the truth near and far. When He saw sin in the life of another person, He flat out told him or her. He also overturned the money changing tables in the Temple because the people had "turned it into a den of robbers." Jesus confronted sin - better yet, He gave us a way out of it by giving us the cross.
- Jesus called the Pharisees "blind guides leading the blind." This is a call to those of us who want to witness to others to be certain that we're following Him and that we're studying and learning so that we know what we're talking about. I can use improvement in that area and I know almost everyone else can too. It's something to aim for.