What’s Inside of Me? by Dave Wilson with Lance Kjeldgaard
Lance and his wife Linda are team leaders for our International Friendship Connection (IFC) here at Trinity Church. They reach out to the international students and scholars who attend some of our local universities. Students leave their home and families from all around the world to come here and study, and IFC becomes a surrogate family who loves and blesses them in the name of the Lord.
Lance and his team works with a crowd very similar to Jesus in these stories. They all come from different cultures with different languages and divergent ways of thinking about spiritual things. Some are seeking a sign or a miracle that proves the existence of God. Others seek truth from their heritage and ancestry by following the faith of their fathers. And still others just want to be a part of the crowd and will never commit to anything. However, there is something that all cultures have in common; and that is a code of morality. In western cultures we deal with ‘guilt’ when we break our moral code. In eastern cultures they consider the ‘shame’ that a breach in the code will bring upon their family. In chapter 15 of Matthew, Jesus helps to identify what actually defiles a person from God’s perspective. What makes them ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’, kosher or treif, halal or haraam.
Jesus is known to break some of the man enhanced laws which define ‘unclean’, like touching a leper. However, it is interesting to note that if an ordinary Jewish man were to touch a leper, he would be considered unclean along with the leper, but when Jesus touched the leper, the leper became clean.
At times we see Jesus interact with crowds and then there are these brief encounters with individuals. With each encounter, something deep within the character and person of Jesus comes out to glorify and reveal the very nature of a loving heavenly Father who can make all things clean.
As Jesus says in Matthew 15:10-20, “…it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person… but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart; and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality” and the list goes on. As you read this text, think about how the Lord can use us to ‘make things clean’ with our service to each other and to the world around us.
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