Unlimited: What Hypocrisy Is
Dec 21, 2020 633
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 defiled hands?”
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain, their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (Mark 7:5–8, NIV).
Mark explained how the Pharisees taught that you had to wash your hands before eating. That’s good advice, but they taught that it was a sin if you didn’t do it. This was part of the oral law. Jesus refers to this as the “tradition of the elders.”
The Pharisees taught that if you ate with unwashed hands, anything on your hands could get into your food and into your body, and defile you.
A striking thing in what Jesus says to the Pharisees is his definition of hypocrisy.
We tend to think that hypocrisy is saying one thing but doing another.
More specifically, Jesus says here that hypocrisy is when you say you follow God but instead you follow human traditions instead of God’s commandments.
Human traditions are embedded so deeply within us that it can be very difficult to separate them from what God wants. We can learn human traditions from our society, from our parents, or even from the church. Many of them are well-meaning, and some of them may even be good. And like the Pharisees did, they’re often justified on moral, religious, or theological grounds.
A tradition is a belief or practice that has been around for so long that no one questions it. But Jesus questioned them, because false traditions take your attention away from him and from salvation.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: Think about some of the things that you might think are important things for Christian churches. If you like, make a list. Go through them one by one. Question them. How sure are you that these things are part of what God wants, or are they just human religious traditions?