Rules or Traditions?

Of course there are rules. Jesus never argues about that! It’s just that not all religious rules are from God.

Many are only traditions. Man-made interpretations, embellishments and sometimes even corruptions of God’s laws!

The Pharisee’s problem - and why they held Jesus in such contempt – was their religion was all about the traditions. And Jesus intentionally didn’t keep them!!!

Jesus scorned their tradition of fasting two days a week. He even condemned them for it, because He saw they only did it to appear religious before others.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept all of God’s laws perfectly. Once He even fasted for forty days! Fasting for the purpose God gave it – to clear the mind for greater focus to do God’s Will.

And it drove the Pharisees crazy when Jesus ignored their nitpicking traditions about the Sabbath Day. He healed people on the Sabbath. His disciples would glean enough grain for a meal as they travelled.

Once again though, Jesus always honored God’s true purpose for Sabbath. God commanded the Sabbath for a restful day of worship, greater contemplation of God and spiritual and physical renewal!

On the other hand, the Pharisee’s Sabbath traditions only served to unnecessarily burden the conscience. And what is more, they used their traditions to create class distinctions - to judge who was in with God and who was out!

Their traditions separated and divided people. But God gave His commands for the very opposite purpose – to bring people into closer relationship with Him and with one another!

So, what do you think? Are we who follow Jesus today using our traditions to elevate ourselves and alienate others? Or have we understood that everything the Teacher asks of us is designed to bring us into deeper relationship?

1 comment:

  1. Are we like the Pharisees today when we deny fellowship with our brethern over a difference in traditions? How many times do we judge others based on our opinions instead of scripture? Certainly, where the Word speaks we must hold our brothers accountable, but on matters of tradition we should not judge. Too often we are quick to judge without taking the time to look at the issue through the eyes of scripture.

    How many of our brethern choose not to worship with the congregation near their home because they would rather attend the congregation on the other side of town because they have better programs for their teens, a more dynamic preacher, they are the same ethnic background/race, etc. Meanwhile, God could have used them as a blessing to the congregation near their home if they weren't so quick to drive past that congregation? Maybe that doesn't relate directly to this scripture, but it spurred that thought in my mind.