…….continued from part 1.
Thirdly, if you don’t want to be like the Pharisees, beware of becoming small hearted. One Sabbath day, Jesus was in the temple where there was a man with a withered hand. The small hearted Pharisees were more concerned about the theological legitimacy of healing on the Sabbath, than the man’s very real need. Jesus insisted that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath and healed the man. You can read the story in Mat 12:10-14. As a result of the healing, the Pharisees began to plot and plan to destroy Jesus.
That the Pharisees were more concerned about a point of law than on human need is for us a warning. Which has the louder voice in our hearts, the letter of the law or compassion for those in need?
Fourth, if you don’t want to be like the Pharisees, take the Bible far more seriously than you take tradition. In Mat 15:1-6 we read of how “ Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” Jesus responds by challenging their own warping of the Word of God in their tradition. Jesus accusation is that “for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.”
The danger is that tradition becomes for God’s people a distorting lens. We get used to reading scripture through the lens of our tradition, experience and expectations.
Here is the opportunity for a moment of self evaluation. These days, are you more, or less, inclined to accept the Bible as the Word of God than you have been in the past? Are inclined to accept the Word of God as the Word of God and be submissive to it, or are you inclined to rage and battle against it?