This morning, we looked at Mark 7:1-8 in worship. It is a passage where the Pharisees came from Jerusalem to investigate why Jesus and his followers were not following the ritual customs that the Pharisees believed everyone needed to follow.
We looked at the passage to wonder what Jesus says to us today through these words. It invites us to bring forth three main points from today’s message.
No one likes to think of themselves as a Pharisee. I know I do not. I like to think that I am “in the good” and that my actions and words are in alignment with Jesus. I cannot be a Pharisee, can I? But, with these words to the Pharisees Jesus invites us to think about how we can be just like the Pharisees. One of their biggest issues was their adherence to their own systems and traditions, while believing those systems and traditions were equally important to God’s love and word. While there is nothing wrong with tradition – in fact, they can be quite helpful – but tradition can lead us astray when we become more concerned with “our way” that by sharing God’s love. When we are more concerned with our own ideas than God’s love that is when we fall into the tap of being like a Pharisee.
Jesus invites us to rethink why we do things. When Jesus approaches the Pharisees, he does so with the hope of seeing them see a new way of life. He wasn’t condemning them, but challenging them to think of the deeper meaning of following God. Jesus does the same thing today. He looks at us and calls us to think about our lives and where we might need to change in order to grow closer to him.
What is most important must be loving God and serving the Lord. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are also asked to share that love with others. That is what is most important. Everything about us falls secondary to that basic concern that God gives us. When our traditions and systems miss that, we fall short of the very love of God that we seek to claim.