Having resolved this yearn to join with my church family (and many others) in reading the whole bible this year, I intend to hold myself accountable by sharing a key personal learning point each week.
This week I was reminded of what Jesus said about following traditions created by men rather than following God. Mark 7:5-13 says:
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?’
He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
‘“These people honour me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.”
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’
And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, “Honour your father and mother,” and, “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God) – then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.’
Later in Mark 8, Jesus goes on to warn the twelve apostles of ‘the yeast’ of the Pahrisees and of Herod:
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. ‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’
They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’
‘Twelve,’ they replied.
‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’
They answered, ‘Seven.’
He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’
I pray that I will always have eyes to see and ears to hear, and the wisdom to understand the teaching of Jesus, and to reject that which comes from mere men, whatever their apparent earthly authority.