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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 7:5'9 WEB.

    I grew 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. I'd been told that the Bible says this, and the Bible tells us that, only to find later that it didn't. Apparently, they hadn't read it either. So I found reading the Bible for myself quite liberating. What I had mostly been taught were the traditions of men (Mark 7:7). They had been passed down verbally through the generations.

    The Pharisees in the scripture above were a strict religious sect in Judaism. They followed the written law of Moses, but also an oral law called the "Oral Torah," the "traditions of the elders." Some smart people believed that the written law of God was incomplete. So unwritten traditions were debated, refined, and expanded on. Rules were created to prevent Jews from breaking the law of Moses. Then their new commandments became taught alongside the Word of God as if they were the Word of God. These new laws began to be passed down through the generations as the Word from God. Yet, it was a mixture of God's Word and the traditions of men. Few knew the difference, but Jesus Christ did.

    For example, the Pharisees developed an extremely elaborate tradition for handwashing 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, the type of vessel it should be poured from, and how high the pitcher should be held above the hands. It also required washing each hand several times up to the elbow.

    The Pharisees condemned the disciples of Jesus for not practicing this type of handwashing, the "tradition of the elders." Jesus knew the Word, for He is called the Word of God (John 1:1). When Jesus had to face satan, His weapon was "It is written." The Word is our weapon, yet it is only as powerful as your knowledge of the Word. Jesus Christ, 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. Also, 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, style their hair, the music they should listen to, and the Bible translation they should read. As well as the holidays that they should or shouldn't 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 remake them in our image, no matter how distorted and bent that is. For if they are like us, they must be alright. Do you see the problem?

    Try to read the Word for yourself when you can, or listen to it on audio. Don't trust what other people tell you without first checking it for 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 to use the Word effectively.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please wash me from the inside out, and reveal what I should change. Help me correct the areas that I am misled in and let me see the differences between scripture and the traditions handed down. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

    Note: This morning, we will be hosting our RHM Live Online church service. This is a special time of worship, prayer, fellowship and an inspiring message. All are welcome! Here is the link to join: RHM Live


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18 comments
  • 2
Candy Laventure
Candy Laventure

Amen!

Aug 22
  • 2
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen. Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Grace and Mercy.  You know my heart. Amen

Aug 22
  • 2
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen and Amen. Good lesson. 

Aug 22
  • 2
Brenda F
Brenda F

Amen

Aug 22
  • 2
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen

Aug 22
  • 2
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen 

Aug 22
  • 3
Barbara Jackson
Barbara Jackson

This is still true today. Praise GOD,  for his true words; the BIBLE! Thank you Refreshing Hope,  for teaching us the true words of GOD, through his Word the Bible. 

Aug 22
  • 2
Randy Patterson
Randy Patterson

Amen! I came to faith later in life, I was 40.  I couldn't hear enough about Jesus and what He has done for us, for me!  So, I had to know more and where do you go to learn? His Word.  I had a long commute to work and listened to an audio Bible all the way through a couple times then read through the Bible at least twice and it didn't take long to see that what I was reading and what God was reveiling to me did not line up to what I was seeing in the church building every Sunday morning from 10am to noon.

Aug 22
  • 2
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

Aug 22
  • 2
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen Good Morning Everyone Have A Blessed Day 

Aug 22
  • 2
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Aug 22
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Amen thank you Father for the hunger you put in me to know your written word 

Aug 22
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father help us to understand Your word to follow Your designs, not to rely in traditional steps towards our salvation. Many things have been written but is not the word of God, in Jesus Christ name we pray, Amen. Thank You Lord for Your words of wisdom. 

Truthful words Pastor, God bless you and Sylvia for all you do for us on this Ministry. 

Aug 22
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Help me to know your will dear God. Amen

Aug 22
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Yes amen Lord 

Aug 22
  • 1
Cathy Webb
Cathy Webb

Such a blessing to have God's Word accessible to us! Lord, please wash me from the inside out and reveal what I should change. Thank you! Amen

Aug 22
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Aug 22
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen 

Aug 22