Summary: Woe to us if we allow anything to come between us and the Gospel!
"Nothing but Jesus and the Cross"
As the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law watch the healing
miracles of Jesus take place, they decide that they have to criticize
Jesus openly in order to stop Him.
Will their criticism be about the healing itself?
Surrounded as they are by the recently healed, this would be a losing and
possibly dangerous strategy.
So, the best that they can come up with is this lame excusethey
saybasically "Your disciples dont wash their hands properly before
How can these folks compare the healing of the sick to this
inconsequential matter of dipping hands in water to run off any demons
one might accidentally ingest while eating?
Jesus says that the Scribes and Pharisees have "let go of the commands of
God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
In many ways, things have changed very little from that time to this
How many churches putas their highest prioritylets say what color the
carpet in the sanctuary should be or who gets to be chair of which
And we hear almost weekly about some scandal among clergy or laity who
put power, money, prestige, or personal desire above their calling.
How different this Gospel Lesson might have been if, after seeing Jesus
work and realizing its importance, the Scribes and Pharisees had come to
Jesus saying: "We would like to talk to you later about some issues; but
in the meantime, what can we do to help you with Gods work?"
How might our stories differ if we approach Jesus that way now?
So many things get in the way of our relationship with Christ, and our
ability to do His will as His Church.
Along with Paul may we be resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ
and Him crucifiedso that our ministryour message will not be ensnarled
by anythingbut will be done with the Spirits power.
Our faith must not rest on human wisdom, but on Gods power and Gods
In the Gospels Jesus issues three bewares to His disciples.
In Mark chapter 8 Jesus says, "Beware of the leaven of the Herodians."
These were the Jews who went along with the occupying army of Rome so
that they might be able to prosper materially. For them nothing was more
important than property, careers, and money.
In Matthew chapter 16 Jesus said, "Beware of the leaven of the
Their problem was that they had liberalized, deconstructed, watered
down or discounted the Scriptures to such a degree that there was no
good news left.
They didnt believe in angels, spirits, or even the resurrectionand this
is the reason they were so sad.
The third beware is of the leaven of the Pharisees.
Their leaven was legalism.
These Jewish believers had constructed a code of over 5,000 laws to
By following their code, they thought that they were earning Gods love,
deserving salvation, and even putting God in their debt.
The depth of their sin was the most obvious in their refusal to admit
They believed that they were somehow good enough to earn salvation.
When Jesus came and ministered He often ran into the Phariseesin the