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Modern Day Pharisees

  • The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, 'Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?' He answered them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men'the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things. He said to them, Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.' Mark 7:5 WEB

    I grew up up in the Bible Belt, and the first time that I read the Bible all the way through, I was amazed at what was not in there. From hearsay, I had been told that the Bible says this, and the Bible tells us that, only to find later that it didn't. Apparently they had not read it either. I found reading the Bible for myself quite liberating. What I had mostly been taught were the traditions of men (Mark 7:7) that had been verbally passed down through the generations.

    The Pharisees in the above scripture were a strict religious sect that followed the written law of Moses, but also an oral law called the 'Oral Torah.' They believed that the written law of God was incomplete, and so unwritten traditions were debated, refined, and expanded on. Rules were created to prevent Jews from breaking the law, and then that became taught alongside the word of God, as if it were the word of God. These new laws began to be passed down through the generations as the word from God. It was a mixture of God's word and the traditions of men, and few knew the difference.

    The Pharisees developed an extremely elaborate tradition for hand washing from a single verse, Leviticus 15:11. This verse speaks of washing your hands after a bodily discharge, which I happen to agree with. Soon they had laws about the purity and color of the water, what it was to be poured from, how it was to be poured over the hands, how high the pitcher should be above the hands while pouring the water, and required washing each hand several times up to the elbow.

    The Pharisees condemned the disciples of Jesus for not practicing this hand washing, the 'tradition of the elders.' Jesus knew the word of God, He was, and is the word of God (John 1:1). When Jesus had to face satan, His weapon was 'It is written.' The Word is our weapon and is only as powerful as your knowledge of the Word. Jesus, who knew the word better than anyone, called these pharisees 'hypocrites', meaning actors. Jesus' point was that no amount of external washing would ever make them clean for their defilement came from the inside, and besides, what they were teaching and practicing was 'not written.'

    Fast forward two thousand years and we have our own 'oral law' to accompany the written scripture. Somehow, we know how people should dress, how they should style their hair, the music that they should listen to, the Bible translation they should read, the holidays that they should, or should not observe. In summary, we want them to be a reflection of us. We can completely ignore 'Love your neighbor' and then tell them how to dress appropriately, which would be like us. We would re-make them in our image, no matter how distorted and bent that is. If they are like us, they must be alright.

    Try to read the Word for yourself when you can or listen to it on audio. Do not trust what other people tell you without checking it yourself (Acts 17:11). As the Word soaks into your spirit, it will come back to your remembrance later when you need it. If you have never heard it, then how can it help you? You have to first know what is written, and what is not, in order to use it effectively.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father please reveal the areas in my life that need to be cleaned up and wash me from the inside out. Help me correct the areas that I am mislead in and let me see the differences between scripture and the traditions that have been handed down, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

    Note: Good morning! We will be continuing to the next chapter of our online Bible Study tomorrow morning, but for those who would like to catch up, here is the link to all of the chapters. You are welcome to start any time :)! Bible Study


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24 comments
  • 2
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

God open the right doors. Amen. 

April 7, 2018
  • 2
Debbie Jansen
Debbie Jansen

Amen! This teaching was such a blessing!

April 7, 2018
  • 2
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen the word is food to my soul  praise God 

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen! Last night we sang a song called; "Even So Come". In that song the words say we will be a church ready for you. Are we really ready? No one knows what day they will meet Jesus, we think we understand what He desires from each of us, but do we? Are we ready? I want to be!

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Amen! Thank you Pastor Dion :)

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen,

April 7, 2018
  • 1
David &amp; Dianna Earlywine
David & Dianna Earlywine

Amen 

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Danvie McLaughlin
Danvie McLaughlin

I have experienced this myself just recently. Amen

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

God’s word is the Truth!  Man can NEVER change it, if they do, they are living in false hope!  The Bible is our Truth, one in which we should read everyday and understand what a Our Father is telling US!  Thank you Lord for the Bible our true source of the truth!

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Stacie Chambers-Franklin
Stacie Chambers-Franklin

Amen.

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen and Amen!

April 7, 2018
  • 2
Stacie Chambers-Franklin
Stacie Chambers-Franklin

Good stuff!

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Carol Pady
Carol Pady

Amen!

April 7, 2018
  • 2
Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield

Every Christian needs to hear this message! I do plan to share it, as I feel very strongly about "modern day Pharisees".

April 7, 2018
  • 2
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Yes Pastor, too many Pharisees invoking the word of God but the real word comes from what it is written. 

This is a great devotional, thank you for sharing. 

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Phynedra Franklin
Phynedra Franklin

Amen 

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Dan Remley
Dan Remley

Thanks pastor Dion for starting my day everyday with these writings it puts me where I need to be,with God and jesus. 

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondelloedited: April 7, 2018

So much the truth! Jesus and the Holy Spirit inspired word are the reason and foundation of our faith,not religous posturing (church games). It's sad that when I've visited highly traditional churches of manmade ways;the place and people seemed like it was a museum or worst case a perpetual funeral. Spiritually dead and stern,sour faces on the people. Your right,they worship their traditions and place of worship instead of the true reason for worship;Father,Son and Holy Spirit. Praise Jesus who is the way,the truth and the life!

April 7, 2018
  • 3
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Thank you so much for this devotional!  After growing up Catholic, with many many many man made rules, I was truly set free by reading the Bible.  Much to my earthly father's dismay.  For a long time he told me I would go to hell if I did not go back to the Catholic church.  But as he got older, we finally agreed to disagee.  It was a long hard road from man made "truths" to the purity of God, and the Love of God and His glorious Freedom!  Thank you again for this devotion, !! because you are so real  :)

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Amen Lord

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Amen, Wow Brother Dion you hit the nail on the head again I cant thank you enough for following Christ in your life and then teaching others how to also, Its a beautiful thing when it works the way God wants it to.

April 7, 2018
  • 1
Ida Ruth Rodriguez
Ida Ruth Rodriguez

Amen

April 8, 2018
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

April 8, 2018
  • 1
Ticardo Williams
Ticardo Williams

Amen.  Praise God!  Thanks Pastor Todd!  Heavenly Father please reveal the areas in my life that need to be cleaned up and wash me from the inside out. Help me correct the areas that I am mislead in and let me see the differences between scripture and the traditions that have been handed down, in the Name of Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen.

April 8, 2018