Today’s passage: Matthew 15:1-9
- After hearing of all the “unclean” people who are touching Jesus and being healed, the Pharisees and scribes decided to complain about the disciples hand-washing.
- Notice, this hand-washing was a “tradition of the elders”. This is not even in the Law.
- Jesus does not answer their question. He is not threatened by the opposition in the heat of the moment.
- Jesus points out the Pharisees’ and scribes’ manipulation of the Law, which they have used for their own personal wealth and in opposition to the spirit of the Law.
- This practice of calling the finances “God’s” was also a tradition of the elders… Jesus is reiterating the Jewish leaders’ error of placing tradition over the Scripture.
- He quotes Isaiah 29:13 in telling the Pharisees ans scribes that all their works of righteousness are in vain. Their efforts were fruitless. They weren’t righteous at all.
- “Commandments of men” can often start out as an attempt to help people obey actual Scripture. But, they can quickly turn into more than what they should be.
- This is why we refer to this practice as “Legalism”. Making up laws and believing a person’s righteousness is based on whether or not they kept the laws.
Questions to consider:
- What are some things we have treated (or still do) as doctrines which were only the “commandments of men”?
- Where do we need to repent of this practice?
- What would be the danger of “whip-lashing” back from legalism? What is the right, biblical perspective to have?
- What is your righteous standing based on? Praise God for our righteous substitute!