Are You Following The Tradition Of The Elders?

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” Matthew 15:1-3.

Tradition, paradosis, Strong’s #3862–to deliver in teaching. A tradition, doctrine or injunction delivered or communicated from one to another, whether divine (1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6) or human (Matt. 15:2, 3, 6; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:8). In Mark 7:3,5 as well as in our text, the expression “the tradition of the elders” occurs.

The term refers to Jewish oral tradition, regarded as a “fence” for preserving the integrity of the Law. The Pharisees delivered to the people by tradition their ancestors’ many injunctions which were not written in the Law of Moses. The Pharisees believed these traditions equally binding as the written Law.the fence

The washing of hands refers to ritual purifying and not to hygiene. The Pharisees in their zeal for the Law almost deified it and their attitude became merely external, formal, and mechanical. They laid stress, not upon the righteousness of an action, but upon its formal correctness.
Jesus charges His opponents in 15:3 with actual disobedience of God’s commandment through their slavish adherence to the oral law. The Sadducees rejected the oral law, saying, that what was written should be highly esteemed an obligatory, but that which came from oral tradition need not be observed.
Josephus explains the expression “the traditions of the elders” or of the Pharisees. ” The words of the elders were considered more desirable than the words of the prophets.”
In Matthew 15: 7-9 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 29:13 in charging the Pharisees with setting aside God’s Word by their traditions. Jesus dismisses their worship because their hearts were not aligned with their lips. Living faith —true worship—requires that the mouth and the heart be together to avoid Jesus’ charge of hypocrisy.
Tommorow, I will begin a series on hypocrisy.

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