Sigh. I wish I didn’t relate to the Pharisees as much as I do…
- V1 – These are the grand poo-bahs of all the Pharisees because they’re from Jerusalem – the main city that housed the Temple of God. They came a long way to ask Him such an inane question.
- V2 – “Tradition of the elders” – It wasn’t even God’s law in the first place, just someone’s idea of what they thought God might like based on what He actually said. Like, “dress up to go to church.”
- V3 – Zing! God’s commandments trump people’s traditions.
◊ Is there anything I do or don’t do “religiously” (whether on my own or as part of my church tradition) that isn’t actually instructed in the Bible? Do I do it at the expense of obeying God’s commands that actually are in the Bible?
- V4-6 = The Pharisees were telling people they didn’t have to support their parents as long as they gave that money to the temple instead, but that’s definitely not the instructions they got from God. (Again proving they didn’t understand the verse “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” 9:13, 12:7)
◊ There are over 114 verses in the Bible about taking care of the poor. Do I do anything to provide for the poor around me or do I consider faithfully tithing (or paying my taxes) to be all I’m required to do?
- V6 – “For the sake of your tradition you have made void the Word of God.” – This is serious!
◊ I must examine my life for ways I’m doing this. I think I will be surprised at how many I find.
- V7-9 – “The people” Isaiah is prophesying about are more interested in controlling others and being recognized for their “wise” interpretation of the law than in actually glorifying God.
◊ Am I one of those people? Am I following one of those people? (See “Fruit” for more on how to examine your leaders for good fruit.)
- V10 – “Hear and understand” – It sounds like He’s blessing them with the Holy Spirit for that moment so they could really get what He was about to say.
- V11 – Jews believe unkosher food will defile them. Jesus is basically saying all foods are kosher (although no one would really get that until later. Acts 10:9-16)
◊ Am I offended when someone (or the Bible) calls me out on my sin? Do I walk off in a huff, try to justify myself, or use it as an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God?
- V13 – See 13:38-43
- V14 – Jesus tells His disciples not to waste their time trying to reason with the Pharisees who refuse to be moved by the Spirit and change their ways.
◊ Am I blindly following a blind guide? Is my relationship with God purely based on what another individual tells me about God or do I seek to know Him better myself? (Think of how ludicrous it would be to say you’re dating someone when all you knew about them you had learned from others – you’d never actually talked to them yourself.)
- V15-16 – In v10 He was really hoping they’d get it. I wonder why they didn’t. They were also Jews who’d grown up believing strongly that unkosher food would defile you. It was in the Bible after all. (Leviticus 11) I guess Jesus is asking them to take a big leap.
◊ This could easily tie back into the question from before. If there is something I do “religiously” that is not something You want me to do, Father, open my eyes and help me understand what You would have me do.
- V17 – A little biology lesson from Jesus. 🙂
- V18-19 – He comes back to the topic of the fruit that comes out of our heart. V19 lists the fruit that come from a heart not changed by God.
◊ What came out of my heart today that was revealed by my words and actions?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?