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Truth or Tradition?

Matthew 15:1-9

Then some P’rushim (Pharisees) and Torah-teachers from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) came to Yeshua and asked him, 2 “Why is it that your talmidim (disciples/students) break the Tradition of the Elders? They don’t do n’tilat-yadayim (hand-washing) before they eat!” 3 He answered, “Indeed, why do you break the command of God by your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone says to his father or mother, “I have promised to give to God what I might have used to help you,” 6 then he is rid of his duty to honor his father or mother.’ Thus by your tradition you make null and void the word of God! 7 You hypocrites! Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) was right when he prophesied about you,

8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. 9 Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’”

There are several quotes from the Old Testament in this passage. The first, "Honor your father and mother" is from Exodus 20:12 (The 10 Commandments, so there is also one in Deuteronomy 5:16):

12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.

"Anyone who curses his father or mother..." is from Exodus 21:17 (and Leviticus 20:9):

17 “Whoever curses his father or mother must be put to death.

The last two verses are from Isaiah 29:13

Then Adonai said:

“Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah (command) of human origin —

Let's stop and think about all of these put together... The "religious teachers" of the day were trying to get Jesus to admit that His disciples were breaking the "law." Jesus knows that He would never teach His students to disobey Torah, so He tried to clear things up by showing that man-made teachings had crept into daily life among the Hebrew people.

If we read the words closely we see that even the leaders said that the disciples were breaking the "Tradition of the Elders." The disciples were NOT breaking the laws of Torah, but rather what had become tradition and considered Truth. There is a difference.

In order to NOT break the commands of Torah the religious leaders of the day had put up what we have come to call "fences." Hand-washing is required in certain situations and scenarios, but NOT in the context the religious leaders were speaking of about the disciples. The traditions were being taught by the leaders as being actual commands in Torah.

Jesus knew what was happening and He called out these religious leaders by quoting from Torah and the prophets. He called out their "traditions" and showed them how they actually turned the Word of God "null and void." Ouch...

Null and void... What have we done to turn the Word of God "null and void?" What have we "added," but actually than turned it void? Have we brought traditions of men to a higher level than the Word of God and caused it to be null?

Maybe we have defamed the Sabbath... as one thing that comes to mind. We have chosen to believe that the Sabbath day "changed" from the seventh day to the first day, but no where in the Word of God did that occur. I'm not saying we cannot worship on the first day of the week... We are told to worship all the time and every day! However, the actual day that Adonai "set apart" to be Holy is the seventh day. Just something for us to consider as we begin to understand what happens when we place traditions of men above the commands of Adonai...

I don't want to hear the words of Isaiah when I stand before the King of kings. I don't want to be told that my heart was empty and divorced. I want to believe His commands and follow them with ALL my heart, soul and mind.

Holy Spirit, bless me with understanding and wisdom to know YOUR Truth today. May I follow Your commands and Truth with everything I have, even if it seems to break the traditions around me.

May you believe and pray the same prayer today...

Love and blessings,


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