Mark 6-8

"This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast to the traditions of men."  Mark 7:6-8, RSV 

Jesus gave this reply to the religious "leaders" who were calling He and His disciples to task for eating with unwashed hands.

I wonder if my mother was a Pharisee :)

Anyway, these men actually had the audacity to reprimand Jesus for not following their traditions. It seems that they were convinced that these traditions made a man holier, so they naturally assumed that all men should follow their lead.

So Jesus rebuked them. The reason was that they were thinking that their righteousness came from adherence to their own rules, while God knew that righteousness came from obedience to His way, for His way alone defines righteous behavior.

Sometimes we forget that. We get so used to the way we've always believed or always done things that we get to thinking that our ways are the path to righteousness. And sometimes we, too, need Jesus to remind us that it is His way, not ours, that is righteous.

So, how do we know the difference? How do we know which things we believe are from God, and which are from men? The same way that men have always known: By putting their finger on it in the Bible.

That is why we study! We need to know the difference between God's doctrine and the traditions of men. And, only the word of God can reveal that difference to us.

Which path do we follow? Which, do you think, that God will accept? Better study to make sure!

 

And He said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!"                                Mark 7:9, RSV