The Religious Narcotic: Mark 7:5-13
“5) The Pharisees and the scribes *asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” 6) And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, 7) But their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8) Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” 9) He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 20) For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11) but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12) you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13) thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”” Mark‬ ‭7‬:‭5‬-‭13‬ ‭
This text serves as a strong rebuke to the entire religious system of Israel. They distorted the system God gave them and turned it into a religious system that accommodated their own morals and values, but they basically left God out. They gave lip service to God, but focused on themselves.
This could be excused with pagan religious systems, but Israel was Gods chosen people. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul records the fall of the Gentiles from God. According to verse 25, “ “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Then in Romans 2-3 he records the apostasy of the Jewish people. They were worse than the gentiles because they practiced willful disobedience.
It’s amazing how quickly religious systems become “man centered” rather than “God centered.” If we were honest, it would shock us how much of Christianity today is about “self” rather than “God.” We give lip service to God but much of our ceremony is about self.
Theology doesn’t shape us and much as we shape it! God created man after His own image, but mankind quickly recreated god after his or her own morals, values and life philosophies.
We like to sight the fact that Jesus came to His own people and they rejected Him. (John 1:11-12) At least they retained the Ten Commandments. Many modern Christian denominations are polar opposites of the morals and values taught by Jesus and the Bible.
This rebuke of Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees is sobering because it is our measuring stick as well. We are even more guilty of rejecting the Word of God for our religious traditions than they. Why? Because we live after the printing press. Bibles are everywhere, but seldom opened.
Instead, much of Christian literature today is based on secular psychology, self help techniques and humanism. Throw in some new age mysticism, evolutionary theory and feel good conservative politics and out comes modern evangelicalism!
We then baptize this new pseudo religion in the name “Christianity” and fool ourselves into thinking we are honoring and serving God. Religion often becomes a delusional narcotic that has nothing to do with the God of the Bible. ‭‭ I know there are many godly Christians out there who genuinely love Jesus and walk in the Spirit, but these are very confusing times. As a whole, Jesus could preach the same Mark 7:5-13 sermon to the modern Christian Church and hit the nail on the head.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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