Traditions-Mark 7:1-8

Mark 7:1-8 “The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
Marco 7:1-8 «Allora si radunarono vicino a lui i farisei e alcuni scribi venuti da Gerusalemme. 2 Essi videro che alcuni dei suoi discepoli prendevano il cibo con mani impure, cioè non lavate 3 (Poiché i farisei e tutti i Giudei non mangiano se non si sono lavate le mani con grande cura, seguendo la tradizione degli antichi;4 e quando tornano dalla piazza non mangiano senza essersi lavati. Vi sono molte altre cose che osservano per tradizione: abluzioni di calici, di boccali e di vasi di bronzo {e di letti}). 5 I farisei e gli scribi gli domandarono: «Perché i tuoi discepoli non seguono la tradizione degli antichi, ma prendono cibo con mani impure? » 6 E Gesù disse loro: «Ben profetizzò Isaia di voi, ipocriti, com’è scritto:“Questo popolo mi onora con le labbra, ma il loro cuore è lontano da me. Invano mi rendono il loro culto, insegnando dottrine che sono precetti di uomini”. 8 Avendo tralasciato il comandamento di Dio, vi attenete alla tradizione degli uomini».
 
     In this scene, the religious rulers have intentionally come to find fault in Jesus. The popularity of Jesus had caused great concern among the establishment and every effort to dissuade His followers was used. Here they try again based on Jesus permitting His disciples to eat without the ceremonial washing of their hands and were ‘unclean’. It wasn’t viewed as the way we wash our hands. We wash them because they are dirty. The tradition of the elders was that when you washed your hands you would wash away the contamination and ungodliness of the world and thus become pure and undefiled before the Lord. These numerous traditions of the elders were developed over time and became as binding as the Scriptures or even more so. This was one of the many traditions that involved every aspect of your day. Everything had its purpose in making you holy by external practices. 
     Jesus does not respond to their charge to the disciples but rather quotes Isaiah and addressed the underlying motive for their traditions. It was a hypocritical approach to worship to think that external actions could ever deal with the issues of the heart. Holiness and purity have their center in the internal relationship with the Lord. All of one’s actions, no matter how seemingly noble, are in vain. Jesus then concludes with a strong rebuke that they had abandoned God in order to follow man. When you think about this scene, it points out to us the reality that traditions (even good ones!) are worthless when the heart is not devoted to God. 
Pray with me: Lord, I know that there are many good traditions in my spiritual life that I do that are helpful. Help me to never live like my actions for You will replace my heart before You.


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