God has instructed humanity to obey his commands; loving God and loving others. According to Jesus—the Living Word of God— we can be successful in meeting these requirements. Jesus taught, “Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me” (Matthew 11:29). Where the practice of religious rituals fail to renew us or bring lasting change into our lives, Jesus actually offers training opportunities, brings us power as we practice, and keeps us company on the journey. What a Savior!
In our passage today, Jesus has an encounter with the religious leaders. Jesus is not criticizing good hygiene practice. Instead, he is shining the light of Truth on the fact that these leaders have exalted the writings and traditions of the religious elders above the actual commands of God. They hold fast to what is not working in their lives while rejecting Jesus who came to bring victory.
5 So the Pharisees and religious scholars asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the age-old traditions passed down by our elders? They should first ceremonially wash their hands before eating.”
6 Jesus replied, “You are frauds and hypocrites! How accurately did Isaiah prophesy about you phonies when he said:
‘These people honor me with their words
while their hearts run far away from me!
Their worship is nothing more than a charade!
For they continue to insist
that their man-made traditions
are equal to the instructions of God.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the change you have brought to my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.