Read: Mark 7:1-13
God and His word are true. Jesus clarifies what actually matters – the truth of the word of God rather than man-made traditions and rituals.
An official delegation of Pharisees and scribes, come yet again, to evaluate Jesus’ ministry and they pronounce harsh condemnation against Him. Their primary grouse was – “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” Knowing these washings were commanded by tradition, not Scripture, the religious leaders still criticized the disciples. There were a couple of issues with their evaluation – not only had they already made up their mind about Jesus, but also their evaluation was not against God’s word but against the measure of their religious traditions!
This may seem rather phony and even stupid, but the truth is many of these rituals and traditions often stem from seemingly spiritual thinking, especially in the beginning. But often many such spiritually logical thoughts end up making way for the words, traditions and rituals of man, giving them the same or even more importance as God’s word. And that, my friend is when sin creeps in.
Interestingly, it was the theologians, the morally respectable of the day, (Mark 14:1) not the ordinary, sinful people – the drunks, the sexually immoral or the tax collectors who cried “Crucify him! (Mark 15:11) and murdered the Author of life (Acts 3:13-15). The scribes saw themselves as superior to others, were blinded to their own sin (Mark 2:16). They developed ways of appearing to be godly, but did not prioritize God in their hearts (Mark 7:6). They were driven by jealousy, rather than humility. They were hypocrites who oppressed the weak but made a pretense of long prayers (Mark 12:38-40).
Though we are often tempted to fault the scribes and Pharisees, may we pause for a minute to examine if there is hypocrisy, pride, self-righteousness lurking in our hearts too? Are we more concerned about how we appear on the outside than we are about our heart’s condition before God? May our prayer daily be – Lead Me to the Cross!
- Is my heart broken and humble over my own sin? Do I value appearing godly more than truly seeking God?
- Does my understanding of who God is and what he has done for me — stir me to love and serve sinners? (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
- In what ways am I prioritizing man-made traditions over God’s word in my life?
For more daily devotions like this – At the Potter’s Wheel (Kindle)