Every Day With Jesus

Daily Devotionals from Pastor Quintin Stieff

Only a Form of Godliness

Today's Scripture

Mark 7:1-13 (NIV)

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)
5So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?"
6He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
"'These people honor me with their lips,    
   but their hearts are far from me.
7They worship me in vain;    
   their teachings are merely human rules.'
8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions."
9And he continued, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10For Moses said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.' 11But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)- 12then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

Today's Message

Only a Form of Godliness

The Pharisees majored on looking outwardly good to others. They emphasized external devotion. They focused on close obedience to their traditions.

But all the while, they emptied the true law of God of any real meaning or significance to themselves. They sought loopholes to get around the spirit of the law. Here, though they should have honored their parents by caring for them, they conveniently found an oath that would remove their responsibility... and keep the money for themselves.

Jesus calls them out on this immediately. And it wasn't just this one occurrence. "You do many things like that."

Beware of the danger of being a Pharisee. It can all start out innocently enough. But if we are not careful, we find ourselves obeying the outward letter of the law -- or some church tradition -- while our hearts are far from God.

Here's the man who turns off the porn to get ready to go to church. Here's the woman who gossips about her neighbor during a "prayer time." Here's the angry tyrant at home who turns on the charm when around the church folks.    

All these and more "honor God with their lips, but there are hearts are far from me."

Lord, have mercy!

Posted by Valley Church Communications at 5:00 AM