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15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." 
3 He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5 But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 
8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, 
And honor Me with their lips, 
But their heart is far from Me. 
9 And in vain they worship Me, 
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" 



I love how Jesus deals with the scribes and Pharisees. They are constantly asking Him questions thinking they are going to catch Him. And He constantly flips the script on these guys.   

The Pharisees' big question for the day was why the disciples did not obey the tradition of the elders. The tradition involved very thorough hand washing before eating. Now there is nothing wrong with being clean, but it was a tradition of men.   

Jesus ignored their question and had one for them instead. Why do you guys disobey God's commandments to keep your tradition? 

Jesus was referring to the Pharisees' practice of not honoring and helping their parents and declaring that money was a gift to God. Keep in mind that these are the days before social security or government aid. Often parents were depending on their children to provide for them in their old age.   

But the Pharisees' tradition did away with them obeying what God had commanded. And Jesus had a problem with that.   

Here the Pharisees were screaming about not washing hands, and their parents were not being taken care of.   

Jesus called them hypocrites and then quoted Isaiah, the prophet, saying these Pharisees only gave lip service to serving God. Their heart was far from Him. Their worship centered around the commandments of men, so their worship was worthless.  


When we get caught up in our traditions, we can miss out on a solid relationship with the living God. What to wear, and what to eat are not nearly as important as walking in love and having a heart for God.  

Years ago, when Joy and I led a singles group, we had a young lady that joined our group. She was a new believer and had a desire to live for God. She had a great heart of love for God, but she dressed less than modestly. Some of the other ladies in the group were giving her a hard time about her wardrobe. It made me mad. These church ladies were about to run off a new believer because her shorts were too short. I got a taste of how Jesus must have felt. I don’t know if I handled the situation very smoothly, but I did put a stop to the religious harassment.  


Lord, help me put Your words and ways before religious tradition. Man’s tradition has no life in it.