Traditions of all kinds are celebrated by men and women in every culture. They range from the foods we eat at certain times of the year to the way we worship.
Some Pharisees and teachers of the religious law asked a question because of an observation they made. They wondered why Jesus’ disciples disobeyed “their” tradition, not the law of Moses.
Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat. Matthew 15:2
A tradition doesn’t usually start as a tradition. The ones these religious men spoke about began for the purpose of continuity.
Let me explain how these old-age traditions came about. The Old Testament law contained over 600 commandments, which the nation of Israel needed to abide by.
Therefore, the early religious leaders made ways that helped the Israelites live their lives according to the law.
As time went on, new leadership added to those helpful gestures, and they eventually evolved into mandates. So much so that these traditions of men became more important than the law itself.
This prompted Jesus to boldly question the importance of the traditions that these men held in high regard.
Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? Matthew 15:3
The Lord didn’t wait for them to ask Him for an example. He already had one in mind and quickly followed up with it.
For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ Matthew 15:4
Jesus Exposed a Loophole
Jesus publically exposed a loophole that one of the “old traditions of men” created. The loophole made it so people didn’t have to financially care for their parents in their old age.
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.’ Matthew 15:5
The way I understand it, vowing money to God was similar to a person bequeathing it to the church. But because of their vow, they could spend their money but couldn’t give it away.
Therefore, that excluded them from giving their parents any financial help. Thus, Jesus referred to their actions as disrespectful and sidestepping the Word of God.
In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. Matthew 15:6
Jesus reminded them of what the prophet Isaiah said. Then, He applied it directly to their hypocritical lives.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ Matthew 15:7-9
After the Lord said these words, He continued by making another comment. This time, He spoke indirectly to these religious leaders and to anyone else with the same guilt.
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:10-11
Don’t Add To or Change God’s Word
Christians must carefully avoid engaging in traditions that try to change or add to the Word of God. One area some want to add requirements to, which is not written in scripture, is salvation.
The Bible is quite clear about how a person goes about getting saved.
- If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
- Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:30-31
- There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Once a person receives Christ as their Savior, the Bible gives instructions on how to live. The writings of Paul teach us how to maintain our salvation and grow in the Lord.
Traditions of Men and Women Today
The title of this writing asks the question, are traditions of men good or not? Churches celebrate many traditions that go right along with God’s Word. Families also establish some fun ones.
A simple tradition that started years ago in our household began when my wife leaned a ladder against our Christmas tree. It was just a thin, wooden red ladder about three to four feet tall.
She put about four little stuffed animals on the steps as if they were climbing up to the tree. She began doing this when our two sons were very young.
Who would have thought something so simple would have become an annual tradition? But let me tell you what will happen this Christmas.
Our grandchildren will look forward to putting those animals on the rungs of that ladder. Take a moment to think of some of the fun traditions you have in your household.
Then, thank God for the traditions you celebrate in church and the ones you enjoy with your family.
Lord, thank you for the traditions we celebrate together. Steer us away from the traditions of men that try to change or add to your Word.
Checkout out these related posts about warnings.
- An Important Warning About A Rebellious Heart Against God
- Sound The Alarm Of Warning
- Take Warnings From God Seriously
- A Warning In The Bible From Peter
- The Story Of Korah In The Bible
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