The Little Pharisee in All Of Us

Pharisees--Mark 7:5, The the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders…?

Mark 7:1-13 is really one of my favorite passages in all of the four gospels. I can never read this passage without asking myself where do I fit in this story? It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t come straight out and answer the question of the Pharisees. He seldom did! If it had been me, I would have just said, “Because they are following me.” That just wasn’t Jesus’ style and it shouldn’t be ours either.

More often than not, when the Pharisees or the Sadducees would ask Jesus questions such as this, he responded by either asking them a thought-provoking question, or he just straight out rebuked them. He does the latter in this confrontation. Jesus rebukes them for their hypocrisy [Mark 7:6-13; Matthew 23] and for replacing the commandments of God with the traditions of men. This was something they were known for in their day!

Our Lord Jesus concludes this stinging rebuke by saying to them that they have made the “word of God of none effect.” Think about those words for a moment. That’s a powerful statement.  Because of their blind obedience to their man-made traditions the Pharisees had literally depleted the eternal word of God of it’s power. As powerful as the word of God is, it’s hard to imagine that we can make it of “none effect,” but, according to Jesus, we can. And, unfortunately, we often do, whether we will admit it or not!

I think if we were all honest. There’s a little bit of Pharisee in even the “best of us.” As one author wrote: “I’ve never heard anyone describe himself as a Pharisee. I bet you haven’t either. The word always describes someone else.”

On this side of eternity there are many things that God’s people will struggle with, but few of them are as difficult to eradicate and eliminate as a proud, pharisaical spirit!

Just taking a moment to reflect!

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