Jesus and Religious Tradition
Mark 7:1-13
Religious traditions may begin with good intentions but in the end have devastating results.
Published May 29th, 2018
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Jesus unmasks the progression of religious tradition: man invents tradition of worship, man prefers tradition over worship, man's tradition prevents true worship.
Mark 7:1-13
p Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes
Now when the Pharisees came to him, with some of the religious scholars
q who had come from Jerusalem,
who had come from Jerusalem [a long way!]
they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were r defiled,
they observed that some of his followers ate with hands that were "unclean,"
that is, unwashed.
that is, unwashed.
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat
(Because the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat
unless they wash their hands properly, 1
unless they first wash there hands ceremonially,
holding to s the tradition of t the elders,
keeping the tradition of the elders,
and when they come from the marketplace,
and when they come from a public place,
they do not eat
they don't eat
unless they wash. 1
without first purifying themselves.
And there are many other traditions that they observe,
And they follow many other traditions,
such as u the washing of v cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches. 2 )
like the ceremonial washing of cups and pots and copper containers and furniture.
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him,
And the Pharisees and religious scholars asked him,
“Why do your disciples not walk according to s the tradition of t the elders,
"Why do your followers not follow the practices of the elders,
w but eat with r defiled hands?”
but eat with ceremonially unclean hands?"
And he said to them,
In response Jesus replied,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you x hypocrites,
"Isaiah put it well when he told of you fakers,
as it is written,
as the Scripture says,
y “‘This people honors me with their lips,
"'These people talk as if they treasure me,
but their heart is far from me;
but in their hearts they treasure something else;
in vain do they worship me,
their worship is empty,
teaching as z doctrines the commandments of men.’
teaching human commands as if they were God's truth.'
You leave the commandment of God
In the same way, you ditch God's commands
and hold to the tradition of men.”
and instead live by human religious custom."
And he said to them,
And he went on to say to them,
“You have a fine way of a rejecting the commandment of God
"You are so good at rejecting what God has commanded
in order to establish your tradition!
in order to set up your own religious customs!
For Moses said,
For Moses [speaking God's commands] said,
b ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and,
'Treat your father and mother with honour'; and,
c ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
'Whoever treats father and mother with contempt must be put to death.'
But you say,
But you, on the other hand, say,
‘If a man tells his father or his mother,
'If a man tells his father or his mother,
“Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’
"Whatever financial help you would have received from me is Corban'"
(that is, given to God) 1 —
(in other words, designated as an offering to God)--
then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
then you prevent those resources from being used to help his father and mother,
thus d making void the word of God
therefore nullifying what God has commanded [concerning honouring one's parents]
by your tradition that you have handed down.
by your precious religious customs that you guard so carefully for future generations.
And many such things you do.”
And this is kind of behaviour is only one example of many."
In spying out the disciples and their lack of adherence to religious tradition, the scribes and Pharisees missed seeing the glory of Jesus, who was right in front of their eyes!
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.