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The Blind Leading The Blind
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What Came Before
We recognize Jesus as God's Son who acts not only as the prophets of old but as the Lord of creation Himself. The disciples acclaim him as God's Son, and the masses approach him for healing. The nitpicking response of the Pharisees and scribes, a sort of religious and academic elite, stands in all the starker contrast to reality. They were no denser than some academicians today who likewise seem able to obscure the forest of God's saving message with far less relevant trees.

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"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me."
Matthew 15

Blind Leading The Blind, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Blind Leading The Blind by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1564

Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, "Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?" But Jesus put it right back on them. "Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God's commands? God clearly says, "Respect your father and mother", and, "Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed." But you weasel around that by saying, "Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, what I owed to you I have given to God." That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God's command by your rules. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said,

"These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

He then called the crowd together and said, "Listen, and take this to heart. It is not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up."

Later his disciples came and told him, "Did you know how upset the Pharisees were when they heard what you said?" Jesus shrugged it off. "Every tree that wasn't planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch."

Peter said, "I don't get it. Put it in plain language."
Jesus replied, "You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don't you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That's what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands. That is not what is important."

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