Summary: Word of God,
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.
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.
Now, books are not altogether a bad thing. I have many books, most pastors do, in fact
most of us have been encouraged to build a good balanced library. Yet, there needs to be a realization at some point that books are just books and that the wisest man that ever lived said, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Listen to that – studying the writings of men will wear you out. But studying the words of God will refresh you, energize you, and give you life. The words I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life (John 6:63)
Only the word of God converts the soul, only the word of God makes the simple wise, only the word of God rejoices the heart, only the word of God enlightens the eyes, only the word of God endures forever.
Jesus said, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Psalms119:103 says, How sweet are THY words to my taste…
Unfortunately, the words of men and the words of God get all jumbled up together and we understand that one is not the same as the other, but the mind has a harder time distinguishing between the two.
The Pharisees fell into this and they made the word of God no affect because they could not read it apart from hold that the Mishna had on their minds..
Paul said that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible, he said 1 Cor 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.