Charles H. Spurgeon
We learn from this chapter, dear friends, that our Master was tired of battling with hypocrites and formalists and therefore withdrew Himself from them. They had come to Him with their foolish charges that His disciples did not observe the traditions of the elders, and they made a great fuss about meats and drinks and washing of hands and all sorts of trifles. The Savior spoke very effectively to them. What if I say that He fired His great gun once for all and silenced them? He told them that the real defilement that rendered men unclean before God was not a matter of externals, but it concerned the heart. It was not that which entered into a man by way of meats and drinks that defiled him, but that which came out of him in his words and actions that were the result of the impure desires within his heart.
Having thus, as it were, annihilated their flimsy arguments or scattered them to the four winds of heaven, the Master went right away from the cavilers. Do you not feel sometimes as if you would like to act in the same way? If you are true believers, if you have learned to worship God in spirit and in truth, do you not get weary with the endless wrangles about ritual and outward ceremonial and the special and particular way in which divine worship should be performed? Do you not feel as if there were something better for you to do than to be always fighting about these secondary matters?
Besides this, the atmosphere that was around these hypocrites and formalists was so heavy, so laden with miasma, so unfit for a spiritually minded person to breathe that the Lord wanted to get right away from it to some quiet place where He might rest awhile; as it were, recover Himself from the sense of oppression and weariness that had come over Him in such company. So He proceeded far from His usual haunts to the very verge of His diocese, to the edge of heathendom: "Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts ...
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