By Jennifer V. Moreno
When the Pharisees and teachers of religious law approached Jesus in Jerusalem, they noticed that some of his disciples were not following the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. It’s interesting how Jesus responds to them, He’s very bold and immediately replies, “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.’
“For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
This alone shows you what Jesus thinks about traditions in all aspects. Too many times Christians can get caught up in “traditions” and they lose sight of the center focus, Jesus (Yeshua). Jesus then goes on to say that religious people skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to their own tradition. And isn’t this the very problem we are dealing with today?
Jesus says it’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes out of your heart. Jesus seeks the inner purity of our hearts and not what we demonstrate in public.
Although traditions may be nice and cultural, as followers of Christ we must understand that none of this will defile us nor does it mean anything. Jesus won’t judge us based on the traditions we kept, but He will judge us according to every thought and action we’ve taken towards others. Because Jesus said ‘For from within, out of person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; THEY ARE what DEFILE YOU.’
Therefore brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that traditions will impress God or it will define how close we are to God. Instead, worry about what is in the heart, ‘for out of the heart comes the issues of life.’ (Proverbs 4:23)