The Pharisees made great sport of hassling Jesus about the disciples. These guys were not trained theologians. Most of them were tradesmen.
Imagine being out on a first century fishing vessel all night long. I am thinking there was probably not a lot of ceremony surrounding the eating of their supper.
But now that they were following a leader who played in the big leagues of religious thought, they were under the magnifying glass.
Let me be clear here – Jesus didn’t set out to reform religion – He came to reconcile individuals and nations to their maker. [Tweet This] But He rocked the religious world, because religion is big business, and when you put it in the hands of the common man, you are making waves in pharisaical wading pools.
Today I find Jesus and the boys in Jerusalem and the Pharisees are picking on them once again.
Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. – Matthew 15:2 NASB
Jesus puts it right back over to them with a question of His own.
And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? – Matthew 15:3 NASB
Then He takes them to task about not caring for their parents by ‘giving to God’, which, since they were ‘God’ employee’s (aka they worked for the organization they gave to) was really keeping the resources for themselves.
Then He really brings it home, and this is where I find the Word correcting me today.
And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. – Matthew 15:6 NASB
Hear this in the New King James:
Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. – Matthew 15:6 NKJV
Now we know that …
… the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 NASB
But when we build constructs in our lives to protect our sin, or preserve self, we strip the Word of its power.
We strip the Word of its ability to change us.
We strip the Word of its ability to change others when we share it with them.
We are actually blinded to the intent of the Word, and like the Pharisees, we use the word to protect our pet projects, and to attack those who threaten our little society.
The Word of God is trying to transform you to the image of Christ. It has the power to change you. (bet your spouse wishes they had that power)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 NASB
But when you use the Sword of the Spirit to attack and accuse your brothers and sisters – or even sinners and outsiders – you will find that rather than getting more and more like Christ, your love grows cold. You will find that your prejudices increase, your hate alarm is ringing off the wall, and your pride meter bursts through the roof.
You have stripped the Word of its transforming power!
It does not have to be this way. Let the Word act as a mirror first. Let it have it wonderful work in your life, then – and only then – you might hear the Spirit of God giving you the ability to HELP others.
Paul said it this way:
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, (who oppose themselves – KJV) if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB
Don’t strip the Word of its power today. Let’s let it have it transforming work in us. Let’s hear it. Let’s do it. We can be hearers and doers, becoming more like Christ today.