As we read through the New Testament in a year we come to Matthew 15:1-20. Read the passage first and then take a look at some of my musings:
I cannot read the first part of Matt. 15 without hearing my mother's voice, "Make sure you wash your hands". At the time I didn't have any knowledge of Jesus' words, but they would have been handy.
What is going on is the continuing rising tension between the Religious rulers and Jesus. He confronts them with what I call their selectivity of what to obey. In selecting what to obey and what not to, they "void the word of God." WHY?
An important principle for our understanding of God's word is that if God's word is not authority enough in our lives we'll always be able to make things work the way we selfishly want and justify it as ok with God.
The quote from Isaiah 29 in vss 8-9 are especially condemning. It is also challenging as I look at them. I don't want to do that in my own life.
How can I put a check on that kind of living?
Jesus makes it clear in vss 10-20, that we need to take a long sobering look at what is "inside" of us that spills out. What defiles us is the language and thoughts that spill out when from our hearts...the real seat of our souls.
Religion sometimes becomes a matter of blind traditions that we follow without real heart examination. The externals are not nearly as important as the internal reality.