Monday, October 3, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Teachings of Man or God?

Good morning! Today we begin chapter 7 of Mark. The Pharisees are there once again, and they are horrified to know that the disciples eat without washing their hands. Now, for health and sanitation reasons, we know it's a good thing to wash your hands often, and the Jews rarely ate without washing their hands often during that time.
 3. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
  Did you catch what Mark said there? They held to the "tradition of the elders". While it was a good practice, it wasn't God's law that they were holding to. Somehow tradition started taking the place of God's law, and not with God's authority. Jesus had quite a bit to say about that in verses 6 through 16. I hope you read it for yourself, because he says it so much better than I can paraphrase it.  
 6.He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesided of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me.
7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
  Jesus went on to confront them about the commandment to honor thy father and thy mother. That means taking care of them as they age, financially, physically, and respecting them always. But their tradition held that if you gave them a financial gift (I'm guessing it would be fairly substantial) then you're off the hook! No more saying Yes Ma'am and No sir; no more suffering through dinner hour at their house, listening to the litany of health problems they now face, not having to go and mow the lawn for them because they are no longer capable of doing it themselves.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this type of thing goes on just the same today, although in modern standards its called "letting someone else care for them because I'm too busy". But that's a lesson for another day. 
 Jesus finishes up this line of thought in verses 15 and 16:
 15. There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
 16. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.  

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