He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!” Mark 7:9 NABRE
Mark captures a conversation between Jesus and religious leadership about purification rituals and following Hebrew laws. The religious leaders observed Jesus’ disciples eating without first purifying themselves and they challenge Jesus as their teacher about the disciple’s behavior. The purification rituals and many other rules were added to the Hebrew culture to help the people remember God and remain close. These rules are man-made and do so to help keep the people pure for God. Jesus challenges these leaders about their strict adherence to these man-made rules and yet He has observed that they set aside the commandments handed down by God. This is a criticism that can be levied against many organized religions. The Reformation initiated by Martin Luther over four hundred years ago was a challenge to the religion of the time and its use of rules and privileges. Even today it would be possible for Jesus to challenge the church leaders with their own priorities. In political times religious groups call certain candidate positions as “non-negotiable,” in other words, if a candidate supports abortion for example, many in religious institutions declare that no one who is truly a member of their church can vote for that candidate regardless of any other position the candidate may hold. There are other similar stances. Most of the time these non-negotiables are not something we would not hear Jesus speaking during the Sermon on the Mount, or His command to love, or any of the teachings on caring for the hungry, thirsty, ill, prisoner and so on.
Jesus teaches love and anything the church declares should lead to love.
Do you make rules that are different from God’s commands? How do you live Jesus’ command to love?Jesus teaches love and anything the church declares should lead to love. Click To Tweet
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