Honor with the lips only!
Scripture reading for February 18th: Mark 7
“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 ‘unclean’ hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teaching are but rules taught by men.”” (Mark 7:5-7)
Jesus and His disciples were always under scrutiny from the religious establishment. Jesus did not back down when they confronted Him about keeping their traditions. They majored on the traditions but had missed the commands of God that pointed them to acts of mercy and service. Their greed was behind some of these traditions! Jesus pointed to the commandment to honor your mother and father and another teaching of Moses that anyone who would curse father or mother should be put to death. These Pharisees instructed people that if they gave money to them for ‘God’s work’, they did not have to help their father and mother! (Mark 7:9-13) They had nullified the command of God by their tradition!
Jesus went on to teach that what really made men ‘unclean’ was not failing to wash their hands! “Listen to Me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’. . . For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slader, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'” (Mark 7:14-15, 21-23) Let’s check our hearts today! Only Jesus’ blood can cleanse the heart!