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Summary: Word of God,

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Matthew 15:1-20

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Up until now Jesus has been mainly ministering in Galilee. This is not Judah, where Jerusalem is, so these scribes and Pharisees are a special delegation come to look at Jesus for themselves.

So it starts out on the wrong foot right away. These scribes and Pharisees are upset that the disciples do not observe the rigid and extensive ritual of washing the hands.

That these beliefs are not scripture is admitted to by the Pharisees themselves when they say, “the tradition of the elders”. They do not even pretend that they are quoting scripture, in fact they clearly say that they are holding to the traditions of the elders.

The answer of the Lord shows us that doctrines of men will and often are elevated to the level of God´s word.

They said, The traditions of the elders.(vs.2) Jesus said, the commandments of God. (vs.3)

Jesus is putting the 2 in direct opposition.

I wonder that Jesus was so harsh with his reply; he was not subtle in the least. In fact later the 12 mention the fact the Pharisees were offended by Jesus. I believe Jesus took offense with them because these were a people that declared others to be unclean or unaccepted based on the doctrines of men, thereby denying access to God.

Vs. 6 - Tradition makes the Word of God of no affect

What does God say? His word says, Honor thy father and mother. That is the clear command of the Lord.

Vs. 4 – God commanded…

Vs. 5 But ye say… The Jewish people of Jesus’ day had a way to get around the command to honor your father and mother. If they declared that all their possessions or savings were it is a gift, specially dedicated to God, they could then say that their resources were unavailable to help his parents.

Through this, someone could completely disobey the command to honor his father and mother, and do it while being a hymn singing member of the local church.

Proverbs 28:24

How? How does tradition make the word of God of no affect?

a. By elevating a source of commentary to the same level as the word of God

Vs. 6... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

For the Pharisee the Mishna was authoritative. It compiled the oral traditions into a single text. Understand that the Mishna wasn´t a book of writings devoted to theological issues, not so much anyways. It was primarily concerned with interpretations. It was a commentary on what the law meant or signified.

One thing I know about and have seen firsthand is that eventually you will serve the idea that dominates you. You will eventually fashion yourself after your idol. Somewhere down the line, some great truth (or some great lie) will bring you under its spell. From then on you are loyal to that line of thought and all of your theology will be controlled by it.

Commentaries have a tendency to influence men that way.

That is what happened to the Pharisees – all of their understanding came from the Mishna, their habits, their daily dictates, their dealings with others, everything.


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