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Traditions and Commandments

Jul 28, 2015
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King Jesus and the Queen City

This morning Pastor Justin continued in our series with Matthew 15:1-9. The Pharisees and the scribes walked 168 miles from Jerusalem to the Galilee to ask Jesus a question. Their question was, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” In their passion for holiness many elders developed elaborate traditions which became a burden for the people to carry out in their everyday lives. The Scribes and Pharisees were upset with Jesus because He allowed His disciples to bypass these ritual traditions by eating with unclean hands.

Jesus dealt with their accusation by going to the heart of the matter. He looked at God’s intentions and purpose for the commandments. Jesus gave an example of how their use of ritual tradition excused them from fulfilling the commandment to honor one’s father and mother. If someone wanted to avoid the duty of financially providing for their parents in old age or sickness, they could say that their “gifts” or “dorons” were an offering “given over to God”. This would allow them to not have to use those resources for charity or to help their family. They broke God’s law to fulfill a law of their own making. Jesus explained that they have voided God’s command because they allowed their hearts and minds to be compromised for their own gain.

Jesus accused them of abandoning God’s word by substituting their own arguments and interpretations for what God requires. Jesus refers them to the prophecy of Isaiah (29:13-24) where the prophet accuses the people of his day for honoring God with their lips while their hearts went astray because of disobedience to God’s laws. Isaiah’s prophecy would have been immediately recognized by the audience, and they would have realized that Jesus was pointing to Himself as “The Holy One of Jacob”, in whom God would bring redemption.


To discuss as a family today
1. Discuss a time when you used spiritual words to disobey God. (example – using the excuse of prayer to gossip)

2. Read Romans 3:23-25. How does Jesus make the gift (doron) sacred?

Holy Father, Holy Father, I praise you for your Word. It is true and brings understanding to my soul. Thank you for the gift of Jesus, who is the mercy that comes from the alter. Holy Spirit, please convict my heart where I dishonor you with my gifts, and help me be pure in offering gifts to You.

Scriptures about the alter: Ex. 30:22-38, Lev 8:10-36, Numbers 7, Ezra 3