Tuesday, February 1, 2022
What Pollutes Your Life
15 1-2 After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”
3-9 But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”
-Matthew 15:1-9 The Message
Tradition and Commandment
15 Verse 1 Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
Verse 2: “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
Verses 1-2 studies: The Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem, the center of Jewish authority criticizing Jesus’ activities. In the last few centuries, since the Jews’ return from Babylon’s captivity, hundreds of religious traditions had been added to God’s laws. The Pharisees and scribes considered them all essential. Most traditions are not bad, but certain religious traditions can add richness and meaning to life. We shouldn’t assume because traditions had been practiced for years that they should be elevated to a sacred standing. God’s principles never change, and his laws don’t need additions. Traditions should help us understand God’s law, not make them law.
Verse 3: And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves also break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Verse 4: For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘The one who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’
Verse 5: But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,”
Verse 6: he is not to honor his father or mother.’ And by this, you have invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Verses 5-6 studies: This was the practice of Carbon, the actual offering of neglecting parents. Anyone who made a Corban vow was required to dedicate money to God’s temple that would have gone to support his parents. Corban has become accepting of ways to neglect parents, circumventing the child’s responsibility to them. But, this action, giving money to God, was seen worthy and no doubt conferred prestige on the giver. Most people that took Corban’s vow took a disobedient turn on God’s command to care for needy parents. The religious leaders were ignoring God’s obvious command to honor parents.
Verse 7: You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you, by saying:
Verse 8: ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
Verse 9: And in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Verses 8-9 studies: Isaiah, the prophet, also criticized hypocrites (Isaiah 29:13), and Jesus used Isaiah’s words to these religious leaders. When we say that we honor God while our heart is far away from him, our worship is meaningless. It is not enough to act religiously. Our actions and attitudes must be sincere. If it is not, Isaiah’s words describe us.
Verse 9 study: The Pharisees knew a lot about God, but did not know him. It’s not enough to study religion or study the Bible. We must respond to God himself.