Matthew 15:1-9 NLT
Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ ”
Reflection . . .
There are many churches and movements that do just what Jesus is saying here. They make traditions and man-made ideas as commands from God. Some of them are well-meaning leaders, but they have forgotten the Word of God making their own ideas more important. Some of these teachings are very subtle and are disguised in feel good philosophies or popular self-help ideas which are socially acceptable. Other ideas are legalistic formulations of their interpretations of Scripture.
We must be careful and test the teachings we hear against what the Bible says. That means we need to study the Bible. It is the Word of God. We need to study it well and understand it well! It is extremely dangerous to put your faith in some well known person, church or great leader and let them tell you what the Bible says without finding out for yourself.
We must be constantly learning from God’s Word.
Is it hard? Yes.
Does it take time? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes.