Seventy years of captivity was the Jews' punishment for ignoring the Sabbath commandment for 490 years. As a result, they overcorrected by building fences (traditions) to protect the Sabbath. In reality, they made keeping the Sabbath onerous and complex. Once a day of rest, it became an encyclopedia of dos and don’ts wielded with precision and penalties; all the while, the intent of the commandment was lost. God knows we need a day off, a day of fellowship with Him, in order to meet the demands of life with justice, mercy and humility. Compare the tenants of your faith to the requirements of Jesus. Jesus says His burden is light. Is yours?
Chapter 39: Jesus Defends His Disciples for Eating with Unwashed Hands
Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23
Certain Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus, finding fault that his disciples ate bread with unwashed hands.
For, according to tradition long handed down, the Pharisees and Jews could not eat without first washing their hands. There were many other old laws concerning the washing of cups, pots, brass vessels, and tables.
The Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus:
“Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? They wash not their hands when they eat bread.”
“Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother,’ and ‘Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.’ But ye say, ‘If a man shall say to his father or mother, “It is Corban,” that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.’ And ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered; and many such like things do ye.”
Then Jesus called all the people to him and said:
“Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand. There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him. But the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”
When Jesus retired from the people into the house, his disciples came to him and said:
“Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?”
“Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone. They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
Then Peter, the disciple, said:
“Declare unto us this parable.”
“Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”