Thursday, May 19, 2011

Asked, and Answered

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? (Mark 7:5 KJV)

Please take time to read all of Mark 7, even though I’m going to be pulling just a few verses.  There’s much more there than the small illustration on my mind.

First, remember who the Pharisees are – one side of the Jewish religious leaders.  They believe in the resurrection, in heaven and in hell.  The Sadducees did not.  Both studied the scriptures, both were religious leaders, but just as there are differences today, they were divided on interpretation.

The Bible tells us of many times Pharisees came to Jesus to answer their questions.  Early on they appear to be questions of interest, later they become questions of entrapment.  This one on the surface appears to be seeking Jesus’ help in straightening out his disciples’ bad habits, eating with unwashed hands.

Look, though, at the basis of their belief.  There is no citation of scripture.  No scriptural reference to show a religious reason for the question.  Instead we see the tradition of the elders.

When Satan tempted Even with the fruit, he used the words of God:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV)

When Satan confronted Jesus in the wilderness after his 40 days of fasting, he used scriptures in his temptations, and Jesus answered back with the words of God.

Here, the Pharisees care about the tradition of the elders.  What should the church care about? Christ spends some time in this seventh chapter on that very subject.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:9 KJV)

He made it obvious that pleasing men had become more important than following God’s word.  By their actions, by their teaching, they had been:

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13 KJV)

You and I both know of organized religious bodies that continue in that same vein.  They tell us “If you do this, it will make you right with God.” Don’t allow the traditions of men to separate us from the words of God. That worked for hundreds of years, but that’s not what God’s word tells us should be.

And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: (Mark 7:14 KJV)

Jesus said it: If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 7:16 KJV)

Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, all said it before in the Bible, and I ask that you listen once more:

Hear the word of the LORD.

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