July 6, 2018
Matthew 15:3… Jesus answered them, “Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
That is a painful question. The Pharisees had asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.” ( verse 2) The elders had established a tradition of washing one’s hands before eating. A good idea, but not on the same level as a commandment of God. What I have noticed about the traditions of the Jewish leaders, back in the day, is that they chose things they could do. Then they made a law and judged people as to how they responded. This is one of them. They made sure they washed their hands before eating, and then they judged others by that tradition. Nowadays, churches have traditions about what day to honor as the Sabbath. I don’t consider that a problem until they judge everyone else by their tradition. Traditions have caused divisions and fights in the congregation of God’s people.
That demands an answer to a question. Is there any value to traditions?
I would say, “Yes, there is value.” But, that value is established by God and not by human tradition. God says, “Honor the Sabbath to keep it holy.” Jesus said, a couple chapters ago… Matthew 12:7&8… And if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath. Our relationship to the words on a page has been superseded by our relationship to the living Son of God… our Lord. The highest order of Christianity is to obey Jesus. He might ask you to honor a tradition or He might ask you to honor Truth which could require you to break from tradition. This writing is quite controversial.
Many years ago, one of my brothers came to me in a very difficult situation. He needed to tell mom about it and asked me if I would go with him. It was a Wednesday evening and I went to church on Wednesdays. I broke with my tradition that night and went to mom’s. My brother came to the Lord that night and I learned that tradition was not as essential as doing Jesus’ bidding. I am not recommending breaking tradition; I am encouraging listening to God.