“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”I can relate a bit to the way that Jesus reacts here to these religious leaders. I sometimes bristle when I hear various doctrines and theologies presented as fact. Often religious people elevate their own thinkings to the level of scripture. And when someone does not agree with them they, like the Pharisees, try to exert a phony kind of authority.
Jesus identifies the issue as one of hypocrisy and he presents a definition of hypocrisy that is a bit different. He calls them hypocrites because their spirituality is all external.. their focus is on the letter of their traditions rather than the spirit of the law.. their doctrines come from their heads rather than the heart of God.. they worship God in vain.
Lord, help me to not lean on my own understanding of the scriptures.