Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? …. And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? …. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” …. Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” Matthew 15:1-2A, 3, 7-9, 12-13
Today's thoughts from today's verse:
Today’s Scripture is an account of Jesus colliding with some of the avid proponents of the complicated system of religious works that was in place when he was on earth. It was a religious system rooted in the law but totally contaminated by the “precepts of men,” as Jesus called them. The Pharisees and Scribes had asked the question, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?” Jesus doesn’t answer their question but responds with a question, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” The answer to the question of the Pharisees and Scribes is simple. Jesus’s disciples are following him instead.
Jesus, the one who will inaugurate the new covenant has come. Through his death and resurrection, the new covenant will be put in place bringing forgiveness of sin and the giving of the Holy Spirit. The religious system Jesus encountered will be fully countered, while the old covenant of God (the law) is superseded by the new covenant. Jesus knows what lies ahead for him but he also knows the fullness of what the new covenant will mean for his followers and the advancement of God’s kingdom. The zeal and vigilance Christ has for the kingdom had come up against the seal and vigilance the Pharisees and Scribes have for their religious system. The irony of it all is that their zeal and vigilance bring Christ to the cross, while the zeal and vigilance of Christ secures on that very cross the opening of the doors of heaven and the slamming shut of the doors of “religiosity.”
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for your zeal and vigilance that secured eternal salvation for me and freed me from the clutches of “religiosity.” Help me to understand and enter fully into all that the new covenant brings to me. Guard me from slipping back into anything less than your life giving presence through the Holy Spirit within me. Continue to build ‘kingdom vigilance” into my life through the power of your indwelling presence. Amen!
Posted on Tue, June 14, 2016
by Alan Porter