You hypocrites!

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘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.

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