Matthew 14:34-15:9 (ESV)

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Jesus and his disciples crossed over the Sea of Galilee and reached a highly populated area. The men there recognized Jesus and immediately let the people in that region know of his presence. Verse 35 says all the sick from that region were brought to him. When they came to Jesus, they simply made contact with him, and because of their trust in who he was, they were healed. It was clear to all that Jesus not only had authority over the water and the wind, but over sickness as well. Right after Jesus administered healing to the hurting souls brought to him, his opponents criticized him. It’s worth noting that although Jesus was continually harassed for healing and teaching the people, he kept doing the good works the Father called him to. Whenever we find Jesus reaching out to help those around him, we see his opponents scheming to discover new ways to accuse him, find fault with him and shut his ministry down. Right after the healings in the region of Gennesaret, the Pharisees jumped on Jesus and the disciples. The Pharisees wanted to break them and wear them down so that they would stop their mission.

Jesus let them know Isaiah was right when he said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Despite all the seemingly righteous words and deeds of Jesus’s opponents, they weren’t really interested in God’s glory but only their own. In the same way, when our enemies attack us, it is tempting to stop doing good. We can feel discouraged and want to “throw in the towel”, especially when the opposition is continual. But Jesus and his followers didn’t grow weary in doing good, and neither should we. If you have been rejected, condemned, mocked, harassed, or just bombarded by faultfinders in your life, realize that Jesus faced the same hostility. God will make all things right in the end as he one day silences those who tried to thwart his work from being done. Remember the disciple is not greater than the master, and if they harassed Jesus for doing good, and they did, they will harass us too. Those who determine to please God won’t always please people. Even in the face of criticism from people in religious “packaging,” continue to follow Jesus and keep doing the right thing!