Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?"
Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch."
— Matthew 15:12-14 NLT
The powerful implication of these words of Jesus for his followers is immense. The Pharisees were regarded as the most righteous of all people in Jesus' day. They believed in resurrection and reward from God for those who adopted their form of righteousness. Because of the Pharisees' reputation and power, the disciples were worried that Jesus would alienate them — and he did alienate them, so much so that many of them actually hated Jesus, regarded him as their enemy, and sought to kill him (Matthew 12:14). But Jesus' words remind us of one essential truth: If it is not from God, it won't last! In fact, if something pretends to be from God, but isn't, it will lead to disaster.
In a world of political correctness, multi-culturalism, and pluralism, it is easy to extend respect for the people of a different culture into an acceptance of that culture's false religious beliefs and practices. In Matthew, Jesus demands that we come to him for truth and reject ANY religion that promotes traditions and appearances — merely external and formal rituals — at the expense of inner purity and true transformation from God.
Righteous and holy Father, please help me discern false religions and false teachers, no matter how popular or powerful. I want to have a pure heart, transformed by your grace and obedient to your will. Forgive me of my sin and create in me a pure heart, humble and obedient to your will. Please help me exhibit this purity in my speech, my attitude, my thoughts, my motives, and my actions. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.