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Vain Worship

John Collins03/29/2012
Matthew 15 describes how the Pharisees had kept parts of the old laws, yet left other parts behind for their own benefit.  The Pharisees and scribes condemned Jesus, saying "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders, they do not wash their hands when they eat?"

According to Exodus 30, people were required to make a bronze basin that sat upon a bronze stand for washing.  Aaron and his sons would wash their hands and their feet before they went near the alter to minister, otherwise they would die.  This was a statute they must keep forever, and their offspring throughout their generations, according to the scriptures.

Jesus knew that the generation that lived under the law had passed, and that the law had already became twisted to the advantage of the Pharisees.  He answered them, "Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your own tradition?  God commanded 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die', but you tell your fathers 'What you would have gained from me is given to God.'"  In doing this, they dishonored their fathers.  For the sake of their tradition, they had made the Word of God void.  Jesus said, "You hypocrites!"

Jesus reminded them what the prophet Isaiah prophesied:

"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  In vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law.  The law had failed, so Jesus came set things back in order by grace and faith in Him.  Through Love, the law would be corrected.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we keep portions of the old laws for our advantage, and omit others?  Do our churches have a large bronze basin?  If we realize that a large bronze basin is not needed, why do we not realize that other laws under the old covenant were for the generation before us?  Do we hold onto the doctrines of men over the grace, love, and peace that Jesus taught?  Are we worshipping in vain?