READ: Matthew 15-16

BACKGROUND: By Verse –
15:2 – When they say “tradition of the Elders” they’re referring to the fact that during the Babylonian captivity a number of rabbis began to make meticulous rules and regulations to govern daily life. These rules were later collected in a book called the Mishna.
5-6 – This verse describes the practice of declaring something Corban – or a gift to God. Doing this didn’t necessarily mean the money was set aside for God; it was just a clever way of keeping money aside and not using it to help out family members. Technically people were keeping the letter of the law, but certainly they were violating the spirit.
26 – Jesus isn’t saying that the gospel is only for the Jews. He is saying that there is a particular order to things, and he came to bring the gospel to the Jews first. The woman understands this and accepts the “scraps” and he rewards her for that.
16:17 – Peter didn’t come up with this all on his own. God revealed it to Peter.
18 – This is a particularly divisive verse. Catholics believe that Peter himself is the rock upon which the church is built. The language of the passage, however, clearly indicates that Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah – the truth and the person of Jesus himself – is the rock upon which the church is built.
19 – Peter used this “key” imagery at Pentecost when he declared that the Kingdom of God was unlocked for all people.
20 – It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t want people to know. It just wasn’t the right time yet, and Jesus knew people would try to kill him immediately if they heard this.

THINK: Several years ago a friend of mine visited an exhibit of relics from the infamous Titanic voyage. Exhibit visitors were given a replica ticket with the name of an actual passenger or crew member who, decades earlier, had embarked on the trip of a lifetime. After the tour group walked through the exhibit viewing pieces of silver dinnerware and other artifacts, the tour ended with an unforgettable twist.

A large board listed the names of all the passengers, including their status—first class, second class, crew. As my friend looked for the name of the person whose ticket he was holding, he noticed a line across the board dividing the names. Above the line were the names of those who were “saved” and below the line all those who were “lost.”

The parallel to our life on earth is profound. It really doesn’t make any difference how the world ranks your status. The only thing that ultimately matters is whether you are “saved” or “lost.” As Jesus said, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Perhaps you’ve already trusted in Christ for your salvation. But what about your fellow passengers? Instead of sizing them up by the externals, talk to them about their ultimate destination.

In light of eternity, what you believe is far more important than what you achieve.

By: Joe Stowell in Our Daily Bread, February 24, 2011

ASK: How do I see the people around me? Do I look at them as either saved or lost, or do I tend to view them based on more superficial and external things? What would it look like if I started seeing everyone around me as saved or lost?

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