Moving on, we find that, in this passage, in Matthew 15, the disciples come and tell Jesus that He has offended the Pharisees.
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honour Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”Matthew 15.7-14
Jesus does offend people, He offends people by pointing out the truth. And, if they are in error, often, they do not want to hear the error, they want to continue in their error, and are therefore offended by what Jesus says to them.
Now, on this occasion, it does come down to the commandments of men and the Commandment of God. It comes down to the issues I have already mentioned, about the added laws, but it also adds comes down to an issue which is relevant in our relationship with Jewish people, with Judaism, and with the Kosher food laws.
“Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”Matthew 15.7-14
One of the issues which has been raised from this passage is that Jesus is here taking away the Kosher food laws which you will find in Leviticus chapter 11. You know what the Kosher food laws are, I know: there are certain foods which are clean and certain foods are unclean. You eat the clean foods and you do not eat the unclean foods.
Rabbinical Kosher has added a whole lot of things which you do not need to know about; basically, the two things which you find in the supermarket or in the restaurant which you are not allowed to eat are pork and prawns. You do not eat pork, and you do not eat shellfish.
Okay, that is it. If you want to eat biblical Kosher (mentioned is made of locusts and other things which you are probably not going to get served in restaurants or offered in supermarkets unless the New World Order decides that we have to eat those instead of meat, but that’s another story).
Basically those are the two things which you, if you want to eat biblical Kosher must not eat: just don’t eat pig and don’t eat prawns. It is as simple as that.
In Mark’s account of this, you have a Edition which is said here it says do you not see this is Mark 7 verse 19.
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”Mark 7.17-23
I will not find that in this Bible because this Bible’s taken from a different manuscript translation, that is from the a new manuscript which is the translation from the NIV. Some people say it is an addition, some people say it should not be there, but, basically, if it is there by authority from God, you could say that Jesus is saying here that all foods are clean, therefore, you can eat pig and you can eat prawns, and you can eat what you like.
That is a big question which some people wrestle with, and certainly, if you’re a Jew, if you’re a Jewish believer, then you certainly wrestle with it because you are told that you must not eat those things.
You have another passage in the Book of Acts where Peter has the sheet which comes down with all the different animals in it. And God says: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.Acts 10.9-16
And Peter says, ‘I cannot eat anything which is not Kosher, these cannot pass through my lips‘, and God says, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
That is Peter’s pride when going to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Therefore, there is a phrase here which appears to be doing away with the Kosher food laws, and when you come to Romans chapter 14, Paul says that, basically, on this issue of dietary laws, you’re free to choose whether to eat Kosher or not to eat Kosher, whether to eat vegetables or meat. You can be vegetarian if you want, you can be not vegetarian, it is up to you. It is a matter of conscience, it is not something on which God lays down the Law.
On the other hand, some people say that Jesus would not have considered eating pig. In any case, He is not saying you can eat pig. Can you see that point?
So, there are different issues relating to this. I am not going to labour this point.
What you can see if you go through the New Testament is that it does not give you a list of dietary things that you can eat or things which you cannot eat. It tells you not to get drunk but it does not even tell you not to drink alcohol.
So, there are issues which you can see which are left to your conscience of how to behave and how to act. If you are a Jewish believer then for conscience’s sake you may want to keep Kosher as far as not eating the forbidden foods from a religious point of view. But this is not insisted upon in the New Testament.
When you come to Islam, it is forbidden to eat pig. You have got different issues on this subject.
When you look at the New Testament, you will find that there is no direct ruling saying what you can and what you cannot eat. It comes down to a matter of conscience, and certainly, this was necessary because the New Testament was going to be spread throughout the world as a missionary religion. If you were going to go to preach the Gospel to people, then you had to be able to have fellowship with them, you had to be able to eat with them. And, if you put up a wall saying ‘you cannot eat certain foods and you you must be circumcised, you must be keeping the Sabbath‘, then that would become a barrier for people from a non-Jewish background coming to faith in Jesus. That is one of the issues which is dealt with in Acts chapter 15.
But you can see it is an issue, and it is an issue which does cause problems, especially for relations with Israel and the Jewish people. Certainly for the rabbis who are concerned the Levitical laws, these are not to be changed at all, and they are very important, and, according to that view, you must not eat the forbidden foods.
That is something we should watch out for. By the way, do not eat junk food, things which cause obesity. Don’t drink alcohol to excess and get drunk. Certainly, do not take drugs and alter your mind. There are things which we should not put into our bodies, but it is clear that God has given us a conscience, He has given us understanding to know what to do and what not to do, and we cannot say from the New Testament that it is forbidden to eat non-Kosher food.