These are my notes from a sermon series. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
I’m going to be upfront with you. Today’s Scripture and lesson is for you who take following Jesus serious. It’s for those who worship God, read the Bible, and maybe go to Life Group. Jesus has something to say to those of us who want to honor God in all we do and say. But what Jesus has to say to us comes in the form of a warning and a rebuke.
I’m going to be upfront with you about something else. Jesus is going to stick His nose in your religious business today. He is going to rattle your cage. He is going to shake your beehive. As we get into this you will be offended and I’m confident somewhere in this I will be misunderstood. And I’m okay with that. If I’m able, by God’s Spirit, to cause you to think more deeply about your relationship with God and if I’m able, with God’s help, to help you elevate God’s Word over some unhealthy beliefs and traditions and practices in your life then I have done my job.
One more thing before we dive into this. As your pastor, I love you. I want the best for you. I want you to experience all the freedom that God has for you. Some of the things I say today may sting, but I’m committed to teaching God’s Word even when its uncomfortable for me and for you… and when it challenges use to move from traditional idols in our lives and embrace the God who deserves our full commitment and devotion.
In this passage we are reminded that it is possible to have lives that are characterized by outward forms of godliness but to have hearts that are far from God. We can very easily find ourselves in the trap of maintaining a commitment to religious traditions and yet neglect any true love for God or His Word.
There are all sorts of traditions in life. Families have traditions. Companies have traditions. Sports teams have traditions. Universities have traditions. Churches have traditions and there are personal traditions that you do each week or every evening. Whether you call them traditions, habits, or routines we all have them. Most of them are good and needed in our lives.
Jesus is not talking about traditions in general. He is referring specifically to traditions that have developed from those who claimed they love God and love people. Traditions that have been developed by followers and believers in God. The Pharisees and Jesus are going to have a conflict over religious traditions and how those traditions became more important that God’s Word.
As we get started I need to define some terms.
The word “tradition” is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. For example, a young woman who was newly married wanted to cook a ham for dinner. She took the ham and cut the ends off of it and put it in the pan and put it in the oven. Her mom called while she was doing this and she asked, “Mom, why do we cut the ends off the ham before we cook it?” Her mom said, “I don’t know. I do it because I saw my mom do it.” Well, the young lady called her grandma and asked her why she did it. She said, “The pan I had was to small for the ham so I always had to cut the ends off so it would fit.” Whether it is a good tradition or a bad tradition it is simply a custom or belief passed down from one generation to another.
A “religious tradition” is the transmission of religious customs or beliefs from generation to generation believed to have divine authority though not in the scriptures. Let’s break this definition into two parts.
- A religious tradition is “the transmission of religious customs or beliefs from generation to generation….” Let’s stop there with the definition. Religious traditions are not always bad or unhealthy. Observing the Lord’s Supper throughout the year is a good tradition. Celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas and the resurrection of Jesus at Easter are good traditions. Going to church and worship with other believers on a regular basis is a good tradition, habit or routine. Religious traditions can include going to church, going to a Life Group, reading the Bible daily, memorizing Scripture, saying certain prayers, wearing certain clothes, having a certain Bible, and the list could go on and on. I will mention others throughout today’s lesson.
- The kind of religious tradition that causes problems is the kind of religious traditions that Jesus confronts in Mark 7. This takes us to the rest of the definition. A religious tradition is “the transmission of religious customs or beliefs from generation to generation believed to have divine authority though not in the scriptures.”
The problem with some religious traditions occurs when they are taught as if they have divine authority from God. For example, there are some believers who firmly believe that there is only one authorized translation of the Bible that God approves of and that’s the King James. For some people, the King James is a good translation for them. The problem occurs when the tradition of the King James is past on from generation to generation as if the King James has more divine authority than other translations. The Bible does not say anything about any translation. However, you should choose your translation carefully.[i]
Religious traditions often start with the Word of God. Someone sees a principle or truth in God’s Word and then gives it an application. Then the application becomes tradition and that tradition becomes equal or greater to God’s Word. People begin to believe the application is God’s command. This is where people believe God commands that you not play with cards, you not wear makeup, you not go to movies, or you wear your best to church on Sunday. To them, the application becomes God’s command and that application becomes a religious tradition and people confuse the application with God’s commands.
This brings us back to Jesus. Jesus confronts a religious tradition taught by the Pharisees. From this encounter we learn some things about religious traditions and some things about external worship vs. internal worship. The point of all this, Mark wants to make sure we are following Jesus rather than following religious traditions that make us feel good about our own righteousness.
Religious traditions do not reveal spiritual maturity
The first observation, religious traditions do not reveal spiritual maturity. The Pharisees would evaluate someone’s spiritual maturity based on the religious habits they saw or didn’t see in a person’s life. If they saw someone not following their religious traditions they viewed them as sinning against God and dishonoring God in some way. Look at verse 1, One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. 4 Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
Keep in mind that Mark is helping us understand what it means to follow Jesus and what it doesn’t mean. Following Jesus is not about keeping a bunch of religious rituals, it is about a relationship with God. To help us understand this, Mark decides to tell us about this encounter Jesus had with the Pharisees and this “hand washing” issue. Mark is using this as an illustration or object lesson for us to understand what following Jesus really looks like.
Let’s understand what this “hand washing” is all about and then connect it to something in our lives today.
- This encounter starts with the “Pharisees and teachers of religious law.” These people know the Bible (the Old Testament, the New Testament hasn’t been written yet). They have read it, memorized it, discussed it, protect it, and enforce it. They are into the Bible. They go to church (synagogue) all the time. They observe religious holidays. They fast. They pray. They dress right. They talk right. From their perspective they are all in on obeying God… or so it seems. But they are over hyper about other people obeying God. They force their standards on to other people.
- These “Pharisees and teachers of religious law” seem to be like the group that Paul encounters in Galatians 2:4 who he says, “[they] sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations” (NLT). Mark tells us the Pharisees “noticed” that some of His disciples did not observe the ceremonial “hand washing” before they ate and as a result, they found fault with them and wanted them to follow their religious “regulations.”
- When you and I wash our hands before eating, we are doing it for hygiene purposes. We don’t want dirty hands holding our food. The Pharisees “hand washing before eating” had nothing to do with hygiene, to them it was an act of worship toward God. You had to follow certain steps: The hands had to be held out, palms up, hands cupped slightly, and water poured over them. Then the fist of one had was used to scrub the other, and then the other fist would scrub the first hand. Finally the hands again were held out, with palms down, and water was poured over them a second time to cleanse away the dirty water the defiled hands had been scrubbed with. Only then would a person’s hands be ceremonially clean. This ceremonial hand-washing was a tradition (vs. 3, 5), another one is described in verse 4, the ceremonial washing of pots, cups and tables.
- Notice verse 3 carefully because Mark is going to explain a little bit of this to us who don’t understand what’s happening. He says, “(The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions.4 Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)” These “ancient traditions” were “traditions of the elders” (NASB) that were passed down from generation to generation. As you will see, they treated these traditions equal to God’s Word and sometimes made them superior to God’s Word.
- It is important to understand that these “traditions” were not Scripture, but rather various applications of Scripture as interpreted by the spiritual leaders. For the Pharisees, if you violated one of the religious “traditions” you were sinning against God. For them, the traditions came from God, even though they really didn’t.
- This is why in verse 5, The Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked [Jesus], “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony. What’s the problem here? The Pharisees were evaluating the disciples according to their “age-old tradition,” rather than God’s Word. Although there is nothing wrong with having religious traditions as a group of believers or as an individual , you should not evaluate or judge other people by your religious “tradition.”
Let’s fast forward to our current times.
- When I first became a pastor, the typical services were Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. But there was a movement that was beginning with some churches, but mostly with new church plants. Some churches were dropping the Sunday night service and some were dropping both the Sunday night and Wednesday night services for other activities or what was called “cell groups” in the homes throughout the week. Some Christians and some pastor belittled, criticized, and accused the new churches of watering down the gospel and having no commitment to God or the body of Christ. The religious tradition was you go to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. When these new churches came along they weren’t following the “age-old tradition” of church. So these new churches were not being evaluated based on their ministry or dedication to God’s Word, but based on how they were not practicing the religious traditions. The evaluation was, “Since we hold to the tradition of meeting three times a week we are more mature and love God more and those churches who don’t, don’t love God like we do.” They were judging someone’s spiritual maturity or another church’s ministry based on religious traditions. [ii] To some of these pastor and Christians the time slots of church meetings were sacred and divine and to them if you broke those traditions you were breaking God’s Word.
The point that Mark is making, there is nothing wrong with your religious traditions until you start to evaluate and judge other people based on your religious traditions.
Let me be clear here, there was nothing wrong with the Pharisees washing their hands before eating as an act of worship or wanting to be pleasing to God in some way. There is nothing wrong with meeting Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. But the problem happens when we begin to evaluate and judge others for not keeping a religious tradition that we hold dear. When you do that you are a Pharisee and you are following tradition rather than Jesus.
Religious traditions can lead to hypocrisy
Number two, traditions can lead to hypocrisy. Mark says in verse 6, “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Jesus used strong language here. He responds to them by calling them “hypocrites.”[iii] The word “hypocrite” was taken from the theatre. It referred to a stage actor. During Jesus’ day one actor may play several roles. He would wear a mask to be one person and another mask to be someone else. He would pretend to be different people. As a result, the word “hypocrite” came to refer to someone who pretends to have morals, beliefs, or values that they actually do not possess. They pretend to be something they are not. By definition, a hypocrite is someone who says one thing, but whose heart is in another place. In this case, the Pharisees said they loved God, but their heart was really attached to the religious traditions. They loved their religious customs, habits, and routines more than God. They were hypocrites. They pretended to be something they were not. They pretended to be lovers of God, when in reality they were lovers of their religious rituals.
This is tricky. This is the person who goes to church regularly, goes to Life Group, reads their Bible, memorizes Scripture, observes the Lord’s Supper, serves in the church, and prays before they eat. They do all these things because it makes them feel clean and righteous and good enough for God and they love doing all these things because of how it makes them feel good about how good they are and it has nothing to do with a passionate love relationship with Jesus. They are “hypocrites.” They are doing all these religious rituals and traditions, but their heart is far away from God.[iv]
Religious traditions can lead to false worship
Number three, religious traditions can lead to false worship. I’m not saying that all religious traditions lead to false worship. What I’m saying is, if we are not careful our religious traditions can replace true worship. True worship deals with your spirit and truth. Look again at Mark 6, “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”[v] Over time the Pharisees and other religious leaders came up with some “ideas” about worship. You must attend at certain times, you must pray toward a certain direction, you must repeat certain words or say certain prayers over and over, you must wash this and clean that, you must stay from certain towns and the list went on and on. You could only walk so far on the Sabbath. If you were touched by a Gentile you had certain cleansing steps you had to go through. They took the Ten Commandments and add 613 rules and regulations in order to make sure people did not break the commandments. They taught these “man-made ideas” as if they came from God. They elevated their “ideas” (their opinions, personal preferences and convictions) to be equal to the “commands from God.”
Some Christians do the same thing today. I’ve been pastoring for about 30 years now and I have encountered many “man-made ideas” about worship that have been promoted as “commands from God.” Let me share some of them with you.
- Hair: Some well-meaning people have taught that men’s hair should never be past a certain length and they get specific about the length. They promote this idea as if it comes from God.
- Clothing: People have taught that women should only wear dresses and they should only be a couple of inches above the ankle. Certain colors are not allowed. You should dress up for church. They teach these ideas as if they come from God.
- Hymns vs. Choruses: Back in the 90s there was what came to be known as “worship wars.” You had Christians arguing over traditional worship, contemporary worship, or blended worship. One group would say our worship style honors God more and God prefers it. One group would say, “Mature believers worship with our style while shallow believers worship with your style.” It was a worship war. I bet the devil loved it. All sides spoke and acted like their style of music was the one God preferred.
- Drums: When I started going to church as a teenager, the pastor loved Jesus but he would not allow drums in the church because he thought they were to worldly. He communicated it as if it was authorized by God. It was a “man-made idea.”
You get the idea. If a person wants to read a certain translation, cut their hair for God, where certain clothing because they believe it honors God, have Sunday night services or wash their hands in a religious ritual before they eat that is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem starts when we demand others to do the same as us and declare it is a “command from God.” This is when we turn our personal conviction into a public conviction. This is when the ritual and tradition is more important that a relationship with God. That’s exactly what the devil wants you to focus on.
When we do this, we end up focusing on the externals and our worship becomes a “farce” and our “hearts” move far away from God. If religious traditions become the focal point of your worship, then your worship of God is endanger of becoming empty and shallow.[vi]
When I was in my upper twenties I pastored a church. I personally was beginning to shift from a suit and tie pastor to a more business casual pastor. Back then, on Sunday morning I would wear the suit and tie. The church I was at, had Sunday night services. For the Sunday night services I started wearing business casual. One evening after church I had a man come up to me and tell me this story about himself. He said when he was in the military he was asked to lead in church services under a large tree for some of the troops who wanted to attend. It bothered him greatly that he had to wear his fatigues and not a suit and tie. It was important to him that he wear a suit and tie (his best, at least in his mind) when teaching or preaching God’s Word. He then began to tell me I should do the same because dressing business casual did not give honor to God like God deserves.
My concern here is that this man, like the Pharisees, did not recognize that people were worshiping God, listening to God’s Word being taught, and maybe even became followers of Jesus. The concern for the man was he was not wearing a suit and neither was I and for the Pharisees they were concerned about ceremonial washing. Worshipping in spirit and truth was being replaced by worship in traditions and appearances. This was a subtle shift of worship shifting from internal to external. When that happens worship becomes empty, false, and void of true meaning.
Religious traditions can lead to rejecting God’s Word
Number four, religious traditions can lead to rejecting God’s Word. Religious traditions are good. You should have spiritual habits and routines, and religious traditions as an individual or family or church. They serve as reminders, mile markers in your spiritual journey, or something God has done for His people in the past. However, they can become a danger and a distraction from God if you let them. The devil will use everything he can to distract you from God, including good and healthy religious traditions.
Notice carefully what Jesus said beginning in verse 7, “Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ 8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” 9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
There is a progression here when it comes to religious traditions and God’s Word. How does a religious tradition become a problem. How does someone get to the place where they put such a high priority on human traditions that they disobey or ignore God’s word? I believe the Lord answers that question beginning in verse 7.
- Step one, they teach religious tradition as God’s Word
Step one, they teach religious tradition as God’s Word. Jesus said in verse 7 the Pharisees were “teaching man-made ideas as commands from God.” They began to teach and talk about “man-made ideas” and the traditions as if they had the same level of authority as the “commands from God.” When that happens, if you start messing with their religious tradition they are going to get upset and offended. To them, you are dishonoring God and disobeying God by ignoring their religious tradition.
- Step two, they Ignore God’s Word for religious tradition
Step two, they ignore God’s Word for religious traditions. Jesus said to the Pharisees in verse 8, “You ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” This is a step further away from God’s Word. Here the person begin to flat out “ignore” God’s Word and put in its place their “own tradition.” They replace the Word of God with tradition. At this point it is no longer about growing in the Word, it is about defending the traditions. This is where you might hear something like this, “It doesn’t matter what the Bible says, this is the way we have always done it.”
- Step three, they sidestep God’s word for religious tradition
Step three, they sidestep God’s word for religious tradition. Jesus said in verse 9, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.” To “sidestep” means to “set it aside” (NASB), “get rid of it” (Msg), or “invalidate” God’s commands. To “sidestep” something or someone is to avoid it. They were intentionally avoiding what God’s Word said on certain matters. Because of this the Pharisees hands may have been clean, but their hearts were not.[vii] If the word of God got in the way of one of their traditions or want they really wanted to do they would simply avoid the Word of God, ignore it, and go around it.
- Step four, they cancel the Word of God for religious tradition
Step four, they cancel the Word of God for religious tradition. Jesus finally says to the Pharisees in verse 13, “You cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition.” By ignoring and sidestepping God’s word for the tradition they were in effect canceling the word of God. They were nullifying (CSB) the authority of God’s Word and making it invalid (Phillips). They were teaching verbally and by example that it is not important to do what God says.
So, from this, we can see the dangerous downward pattern toward God’s Word if religious tradition becomes too important.
- It’s starts by giving tradition an authority equal with God’s Word
- It continues by preferring tradition over God’s Word
- It progresses to rejecting God’s Word in order to keep the tradition
- It results in making God’s Word invalid to our lives and church
Jesus concludes verse 13 by saying, “And this is only one example among many others.” The Pharisees had many more of these tedious traditions. For example, if a Pharisee was carrying a pot and it was touched by a Gentile, that pot had to be broken into pieces and the largest piece of broken pottery couldn’t be any larger than a man’s big toe. Can’t you just see a Pharisee breaking a pot and then holding the broken pieces next to his big toe to make sure he pleased God? Let alone, how did this action make the Gentile feel?
Over the centuries various religious traditions have come and gone and some have stayed.
- The Catholic Church holds a religious tradition called Papal Infallibility. This refers to when the Pope speaks for God and what the Pope says is held as authoritative as the Bible itself. That is ignoring and setting aside God’s Word.
- John Calvin, the founder of the Presbyterian Church, which was also known as the Church of Scotland. John Calvin would wear a hat to church and preach with it on. He only removed it to pray. For several hundred years after that men would wear hats to church and remove them only to pray, because they believed that was the godly thing to do. What people missed was the reason why Calvin wore a hat to church. His church building in Strasbourg was open and cold. There were many pigeons who roosted in the church and some of them were above the pulpit area and he was always in danger of being bombed by pigeons. It had nothing to do with honoring God, but people turned it into something that it was never meant to be. Religious traditions have a sneaking way of doing that.
- Just in the past 100 years, Christians and churches have developed religious traditions and proclaimed them as if they were a command of God. For example…
- You shouldn’t have playing cards in your house
- You shouldn’t go to movies
- Women shouldn’t wear makeup or jeans
- Men should not cut their beards
- Should only sing hymns in church
- Don’t have a TV in your house
- Don’t shop on Sundays
- No hats in the sanctuary
- Religious traditions have kept churches from reaching their community for Christ and pushed people away. Churches refuse to change for the Kingdom because their traditions have been given more authority than God’s Word. Unhealthy religious traditions can kill a church, a ministry, and drive people away from Jesus.[viii]
Don’t let someone’s religious tradition keep you from enjoying God, loving His people, and following Jesus. Every generation has to battle and resist various religious tradition that would try to replace God’s Word and true worship. This is not new, just be alert and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
We are often tempted to rely on our own attempts at attaining righteousness. We use religious tradition in an attempt to earn God’s favor. We must remember that our righteousness is in Christ alone. We can rest in Him and know that we are saved by grace through faith in His finished work (Gal. 3:1-6).
[i] Let me give you one more. Interracial marriage. There are some people who believe God does not want one race marrying another race and they will even use the Bible to give it authority. This feeds racism. The Bible does not warn against interracial marriage, but inter-faith marriage. The Bible strongly cautions believers to marry believers and to avoid marrying non-believers. There are some who passed down from one generation to the next that you should only marry within your race and they declare it as if it is from God. That is a religious tradition that is wrong and unhealthy.
[ii] By the way, the Sunday night services began as a result of the light bulb. Many churches during that time received light bulbs for their buildings. They decided to have church at night since they could light up the building and many people began going to church at night just to see the light bulbs. In addition, the reason churches normally meet around 11:00 am on Sunday is because that was a good time for most farmers. They could get their morning chores done regarding feeding the animals and get cleaned up and get to the church building at that time.
[iii] This is by no means the only time that Jesus exposes and warns the religious leaders. Over and over Jesus makes it clear that they are hypocrites with callous and empty hearts (Matthew 23:27-28; Luke 11:37-54).
[iv] Jesus had summarized all of God’s Word into two commands, love God and love people. However, the Pharisees had invented and developed a system of 613 laws to help keep those commands. These 613 laws is what Jesus is addressing. Jesus is saying, “You hypocrites! You keep all these laws, rituals, traditions, and regulations that you think honor God but your heart is somewhere else. You don’t love God, you love your traditions.” The Pharisees were busy doing the “ritual of hand washing” before they ate, along with the “ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.” They followed a lot of religious rules and rituals, but they never had a relationship with God. They were more concerned about their religious habits than they were about their heart. They were hypocrites. They did all the things that made them look like they were close to God, but in reality they were far away from Him. What you saw on the outside was not who they were on the inside. I’m sure many of them had deceived themselves with their own hypocrisy. Some time back I was pastoring a church. We had redesigned the stage to make it represent the current sermon series we were in. This meant we had to remove plants and flowers and the American flag and the Christian flag from the stage. When we were done with the series I decided to keep the stage more clean and go with a more modern look. We didn’t put the flags back out. Six weeks had come and gone and a man in the church found the flags stored in one of the storage rooms. He comes to my office and confronts me about the flags and how they should be placed back on the stage because they are meaningful to people and add to the worship. I asked him, “Do you know how long those flags have been absent from the stage?” He said, “No.” I said, “Six weeks.” No one has mentioned them or noticed they weren’t up there, including you until you saw them in the storage room. They do not add to your worship.” He didn’t like that answer and he got upset. The flags on the stage had become a religious ritual or custom for him that as soon as he noticed them missing it bothered him and it somehow affected his worship and demanded that I put them back. This is what the Pharisees were doing with Jesus. They saw that the disciples were not doing the religious ritual of washing their hands and demanded they should observe it. But Jesus called them a hypocrite because they were more concerned about the petty outward things rather than the more important inward things.
[v] Jesus is referring to Isaiah 29:13.
[vi] How can you tell if your religious traditions are becoming idols in your worship and have replaced a real relationship with God? There are two ways to find out. First, take the tradition away. If all your religious traditions were taken away from you and all you had was God, would that be enough or would you complain that something was missing? Second, how do you react when someone doesn’t care about your religious tradition?
[vii] Jesus gives them one example that deals with honoring their parents. In Exodus 20:12 the Bible says, “Honor your father and mother” and in Exodus 21:17 the Bible says, “Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.” Those are pretty clear commands in the Scripture. The first one comes from the Ten Commandments and the second one was one of the national laws of Israel that demonstrated the seriousness of obeying the law. But the Pharisees had a tradition or practice known as “Corban.” A gift that was “Corban” was dedicated to God to the Temple by an irrevocable vow. It was put under a “ban” so that it could not be used for any other purpose. They could still live on the money, but they would make payments over their lifetime. So when mom and dad came to them and said, “Son, can you help us financially. We have gotten older and can no longer work. Can you help us with living expenses?” They could say, “Sorry, mom and dad, all my money is devoted to the Temple.” This sounded spiritual and appeared to have a devotion to God, but in reality it was driven by greed. The Pharisees were allowing people to put certain gifts under “Corban” as a way of getting out of their responsibility toward their parents. Here was an example where a tradition was in direct contradiction to the Scriptures, but the Pharisees were going with the tradition rather than God’s Word.
[viii] Some of the traditions I have noticed over the years that churches make too important deal with the facilities. Churches refuse to relocate, remodel, rename or combine with another church to make one church larger more effective church. They fight to keep the name or keep the building because they have been going there for years. They were baptized in the building, married in the building, and helped finance the building. The building becomes their religious tradition. They are resistant to change even if it kills there church.