Matthew 15:1-3 – Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” NIV
The Pharisees (rule makers and rule keepers) came to Jesus criticizing and questioning that His followers did not always wash their hands before they ate according to the tradition of the elders. Jesus backed them off with the above question, and then went on to ask then why they broke the 5th commandment by the way some of them treated and cared for their parents!
Now it wasn’t that washing one’s hands was a bad thing. In fact it’s a good health habit. These guys were most likely referring to a more ceremonial show of hand washing that displayed to others how much better they were than ordinary folk. In the process of following all “the rules of the elders,” they were neglecting even more basic commandments of God! Most likely their purpose was not to grow closer to God, but to come off better than others in the eyes of society.
How do Christ-followers today seem more concerned about man made rules than commandments of God? In what ways does society try to impose political correctness on Christ-followers and urge them to ignore the commands of God? Are there areas in my life where I am more concerned about following man-made rules, opinions, or laws, than I am about following what God has said? How can I correct this?
Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. NIV