In The Word
Read: Matthew 15:1-20
Tradition and Commandment
15 Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand.11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
The Heart of Man
15 Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The deceived and confused religious leaders were trying to find anything wrong that they could use against the new movement of God. The only way they could find something wrong was to judge the actions of Jesus by their own commandments. You see, the leaders of that day were more concerned about following the traditions of the elders instead of the commandments of God. The religious leaders, through their teachings, had lowered the standards of God’s commandments. They taught that if you had tithed, you were released from your obligation to help your parents. By doing this, their tithe and worship became vain worship that meant nothing to God. In Matthew 23:23, our Lord told them that they should have done both: tithed and helped their parents.
Jesus tore down their traditions by teaching that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles the body, but those things which proceed out of the mouth and from the heart that defile the body. Then Christ gave a short list of His moral commandments that were not to be watered down by the teachings of man.
We must be careful of the traditions that we follow. If we are not on our guard, these traditions handed down by man through denominations, culture, and family can end up taking us away from true worship and cause us to follow man instead of Christ. How can we keep from being deceived and confused throughout our day? By having knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and by being in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, He is there to guide us into all truth. We need to be more concerned about washing our hearts in the water of His word, instead of watering down His Word.