| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 111 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
oral law with its vast number of precepts and prohibitions formulated by past elders,
which was supposed to be a sort of protective fence around the written law. The evitable
result was that this oral or traditional law became more important than the written law,
and brought its adherents into terrible bondage.
15: 1 - 16: 12.
pp. 181 - 186
The question that the Pharisees from Jerusalem put to the Lord concerning their
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands
before they eat!" (Matt. 15: 2, N.I.V.).
We must bear in mind that these religious leaders were not concerned with hygiene,
but with ceremonial cleanness.
"Jesus replied, And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your
tradition? For God said, `Honour your father and mother' and `Anyone who curses his
father or mother must be put to death'. But you say that if a man says to his father or
mother, `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to
God', he is not to `honour his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the
sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
`These people honour Me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from Me.
They worship Me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men'." (Matt. 15: 3-9, N.I.V.).
These stinging words laid bare their empty quibbles about hand washing. We should
note that Christ stresses the fact that the author of the O.T. law was not Moses but God.
What Moses gave to Israel was the word of God (verse 6), not his own opinions, so that
when the Pharisees contradicted this law by their traditions they were breaking nothing
less than God's Word. A man could dodge his duty to his parents by saying that he had
devoted all his money to God, and the Pharisees and Scribes permitted him to do this.
They well merited the stinging rebuke, "you hypocrites", and the quotation from Isaiah
fitted them perfectly.
The Lord then calls the crowd to Him to explain further:
"Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean,
but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." (15: 10, 11, N.I.V.).
The disciples inform Christ that He had offended the Pharisees, but He replied, "Every
plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave
them; they are blind guides" (15: 13, 14, N.I.V.). At the final great sorting out at the end
of the age the weeds, like the tares of the parable, will be permanently removed by divine
agency. When weeds are rooted up, they are not preserved, but rather destroyed.