And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” Mark 7:9
Jesus just accused the Pharisees of setting aside the Word of God for the traditions of men.
This has broad implications.
Aside from circumcision Jews were identified and evaluated on 3 criteria:
- Observation of the Sabbath and festivals (DAYS).
- Observation of clean and unclean (DIET).
- Ritual DRESS.
If you meticulously followed these 3 things, then you were considered a “good Jew.”
As Christians, our list of dos and don’ts is strikingly similar. We identify a “good Christian” by:
- DAY: regular attendance in worship.
- DIET: avoid alcohol, nicotine, and R-rated movies.
- DRESS: Dress your best for God and avoid piercings and tattoos.
These are unwritten rules. This is the barometer our culture uses to identify and evaluate Christians.
Jesus objects to this not because the list is inherently bad, but because bad people meticulously observe the good list. The result is, bad people look good and become worse people in the process.
Why do they become worse people? Because once they meet these “requirement” they feel justified in neglecting God’s expectations.