You hypocrites! How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! ‘These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’” [Matthew 15:7-9 GNT]
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 rules to the level of scripture.
When someone does not agree with these they become like the Pharisees.
These reject anything that disagrees with their entrenched dogma and tradition.
And often they respond by pitifully exerting a phony kind of authority.
Jesus identifies the issue as one of hypocrisy.
He presents a definition of hypocrisy that is a bit different.
He calls them hypocrites because their religious rules are all external.
Their focus is on the letter of their rules rather than the spirit of the law.
Their doctrines come from their heads rather than the heart of God.
They worship God in vain because their obedience is to the rules instead of the Lord.
Lord, help me to not lean on my own understanding of the scriptures.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.