Jesus answered, "And why do you refuse to obey God's command so that you can follow those rules you have? God said, 'You must honor (respect) your father and mother.' And God also said, 'Any person that says bad things to his father or mother must be killed.' But you teach that a person can say to his father or mother, 'I have something I could use to help you. But I will not use it to help you. I will give it to God.' You teach that person to not honor his father. So you teach that it is not important to do what God said. You think that it is more important to follow those rules you have."
— Matthew 15:3-6 NLT
We cannot live or worship without traditions. Traditions help us make life more predictable and manageable. They give worship a sense of purpose and recognizability. The problem comes when we let our traditions force out the things and will of God.
In Matthew's Gospel, we clearly see Jesus take on the huge traditional interpretation of the Law God had given to Israel. Jesus, as God with us, brings us in word and action a demonstration of what God intended from the Law. He challenges many of the accepted traditional practices and interpretations. He moves directly back to God's will.
For us to be true disciples, we must learn from Jesus what God's will is. Here, he reminds us that NOTHING, no teaching or tradition, can be allowed to replace the clearly stated will of God. Otherwise, those who are hungering to find God get left out and those who know all the little rules and traditions can feel smug and saved. Jesus came so the last could be first and the first last. When tradition crowds out the will of God, the truth is lost, from first to last!
Righteous Father, keep my heart open to your will above all other things. I want to serve you and please you and bring you joy. Please don't let my mind become clouded by confusion and lose sight of your desires. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matt. 22:29
- Matt. 13:52
- Matt. 7:15-23
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.