“And [Jesus] continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:9)
The holidays are almost upon us. For some, these are the best times of the year, times when all kinds of fun and interesting family traditions get put on display. Our traditions may be silly or serious, but most of them don’t determine the ways in which we live our lives. But what if we had traditions that we thought made us right with God? The temptation is around every corner.
In Mark 7 Jesus is confronting the religious experts of the day who were bent on confronting him. The issue is all about…of all things…hand washing. Be clear, the debate is about much more than personal hygiene, it is about personal holiness. The religious experts were fanatical about washing things. Why? It was their tradition. They wanted to know why Jesus’ followers didn’t obey the traditions. Jesus fires right back at them, calling them “hypocrites” (v. 6) just like those in Isaiah’s day, long before. What made them hypocrites? As our verse of the day states, they had swapped tradition for following God’s commands.
The temptation to do this is not far from our front doors. Any time a tradition of ours makes us think we are right with God based on our actions we are setting aside God’s word. One quick example – Bible reading is great. We should do it. But it doesn’t make us right with God. Only faith in Jesus can do that. How tragic to think that doing something the bible doesn’t command us to do is equal to the things it does command us to do? Traditions are great, but if they cause us to set aside the commands of God then ditch them.
Question: Are you following God’s word or your own traditions?
Challenge: Let the word of God determine how you will live your life.
Prayer: God, I want to follow your word, not my traditions. Help me to know your word…and do it.
Jeremy Meeks, Chapel Leader -- Chicago Cubs