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Jesus is talking to religious people. That could be us.

Jesus challenges us to really understand what God is saying and to quit making up things that only benefit what we want. Our religious traditions have the effect of negating the word of God. Is that really what we want?

Jesus isn’t looking for selfish people. Jesus doesn’t want us to be religious and quote scripture for our own benefit. He knows we do this way too much. Jesus detests hypocrites.

God’s goal for us is to search out His word and act on what He is asking us to do. We should not just accept the “that is the way we have always done it” laziness. What does God say in His scripture. Does the whole counsel of God support it and not just a single verse?

“You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.” 

Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Mark 7:13–15). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

So the conflict was not only between God’s truth and man’s tradition, but also between two divergent views of sin and holiness. This confrontation was no incidental skirmish; it got to the very heart of true religious faith.

Each new generation must engage in a similar conflict, for human nature is prone to hold on to worn-out man-made traditions and ignore or disobey the living Word of God. It is true that some traditions are helpful as reminders of our rich heritage, or as “cement” to bind generations, but we must constantly beware lest tradition take the place of truth.

It does us good to examine our church traditions in the light of God’s Word and to be courageous enough to make changes.

Jesus the Messiah accuses the Pharisees and teachers of the law of hypocrisy

The real issue with legalism is one of hypocrisy. Jesus detests hypocrisy. Jesus knows none of are without fault and keep the law. We all miss God’s goal for our lives (aka sin).

  • Mark 7:6–8 — 6 (NASB) And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8 “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
  • Isaiah 29:13 — 13 Then the Master said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,