S (Scripture): Mark 7:1 Now the Pharisees and some of the experts in the law who came from Jerusalem gathered around him. 2 And they saw that some of Jesus’ disciples ate their bread with unclean hands, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing…) 5 The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with unwashed hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’
O (Observation): Tradition has become the new god. For centuries, the rules and traditions have guided the people of God. When they left Egypt, God gave the people rules and traditions to follow so that they would be set apart as God’s people.
But now, God’s people, especially the leaders, have replaced worshipping God, with worshipping the customs and traditions. They are confused. Jesus is trying to set them straight.
In their confusion, they have left little to no room for God’s grace and mercy. God has shifted now, from needing someone to go BETWEEN God and God’s people, to actually being WITH God and God’s people on earth, in the person of Jesus. And in their confusion, the religious leaders have managed to miss God’s presence in their very midst.
A (Application): So what customs and traditions have you put up on the proverbial pedestal? Have you witnessed yourself becoming prejudiced towards a certain type of people, and away from a certain type of people?
Has worshipping a particular way challenged you to an uncomfortable state? Are you keeping so much to tradition that you fail to see new blessings and new mercies on the rise?
This can happen in our churches, in our families, in our businesses, in our personal lives. Jesus reminds us that God is always with us. He gives us a chance to practice seeing God’s Kingdom coming today! Right now! In part… But one day, we will see the Kingdom come in all its splendid glory!
What traditions are getting in the way for you these days?
P (Prayer): Lord, break us of our terrible traditions. Replace them with your teachings and your example. Amen.