“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” –Mark 7:6
The problem with Jesus, according to his religious leaders, is that he has an underdeveloped respect for laws and traditions. The problem with religion, Jesus insists, is that it makes people prefer superficial law-keeping to vital personal transformation.
Laws, rules, and traditions are attractive because they draw such clear lines between law-abiders and law-breakers. We know who’s who, and we like assigning these labels because they assure us we’re safely in the right.
Jesus dispenses with rules big and small when a greater law applies. Washing rituals were useful and healthful but not always practical for a traveling band. The Sabbath, a very big obligation, still took a backseat to healing the sick, a matter of charity. Jesus declares that laws exist for the people, not people for the laws. It’s a compelling and fateful distinction.
Have you ever broken a rule or tradition to honor a greater value?
LET US PRAY…
Creator of all, you spoke and all history came into being. We thank you for the stories that inspire our hope and ignite our imagination. Bless your Church, striving to be faithful in an era of doubt. Lead all who seek the truth into the path of your light. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Image credit: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons