Thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. (v. 13)

Mark 7:1-23 Sunday 2 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 15


“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” isn’t a realistic understanding of the Saviour of the world, and in today’s passage we see Jesus letting rip at those around him. The Pharisees make a sort of routine query as to why Jesus’ disciples don’t follow all the ceremonial laws. This provokes “you hypocrites” (v. 6) from our Saviour and a demolition of the approach of the Pharisees as to their understanding of keeping the law. While the Pharisees don’t get a good press, they are attempting to live a life that is follow God’s commands, but this has resulted in a legalistic way of life that defeats the purpose of the religious laws.

But, before we get too complacent, Jesus then meets with his disciples and is distinctly unimpressed with their grasp. They get a “Do you also fail to understand?”(v. 18) for their questioning.

The story is in part about how we follow God. Is it by literal rules and regulations? Or is it by application of the meaning of the teachings? We find it easy to default to the legalistic approach, despite the number of occasions where Jesus criticises this. We can think we are getting it right, and may even congratulate ourselves on being true to our heritage, but a spirit-led life knows less about the detail of the tradition than about living out the meaning of our faith.


To Ponder

  • Has our tradition ever blinded us to what God wants from us? How?
  • Is it ever right to disobey any of God’s commands? If so, why?
  • Do we find security in following rules and regulations, and at times lack the courage to take risks for God?
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