Then [Jesus said to the religious leaders he had accused of being hypocrites], "You skillfully sidestep God's law in order to hold on to your own tradition. For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.' But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.' In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others."
— Mark 7:9-13 NLT
In these verses, Jesus cites an example of the teachers' and Pharisees' hypocrisy concerning the Mosaic law. In this case, the hypocrisy was finding a legalistic rationale for withholding support from parents, thus disobeying one of the Ten Commandments. The brazenness of such rationalization for disobeying one of the ten bedrock truths of their existence just proves how deeply the practice of hypocrisy can become. Hypocrisy, especially legalistic hypocrisy, abounds in all sorts of religious practices and religious experiences. Let's obey, not rationalize. Let's respond graciously to God's grace and not seek to work our way out of our responsibilities to each other and to him.
O God, thank you for such clear examples of legalistic hypocrisy and of your hatred of it. I regret that Jesus had to see hypocrisy in his day, but it helps me see what I need to avoid and what your heart hates. Purify my heart and keep a right attitude in me through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Psalm 51:2, 7
- Zephaniah 3:9-13
- James 4:8
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.