And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But 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)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” Mark 7, 9-14.
How do you and I set aside the commands of God?
Yesterday, we talked about how the Pharisees were hypocrites then, more importantly, how Jesus was the loving and stern confrontation that they needed. It’s a given that we aren’t much better. In the 2000 years since the days of Jesus we haven’t evolved very much.
My wife and I are watching the “AD The Bible Continues” series on Sundays. As fiction, it’s sort of melodramatic; thankfully it isn’t too heavy handed or overly dramatic; no Cecil B. DeMille treatment. Anyway, the storyline weaves both the Acts of the Apostles and things that could have happened in Roman Judea in the first century. The political intrigues and palace coup plots aren’t from the Bible, but they are believable. Taken in the context of how Rome would probably have governed, the TV show is believable.
And it presents a perspective that I hadn’t thought of, namely in showing how very human were the twelve men in whom Jesus entrusted the building of His church. They were flawed, trying their best, full of emotion, pain, and turmoil. The rulers of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, are portrayed as typical politicians, conniving and debating, dithering on one hand while acting out of hand with the other.
All the characters in the show, including the Apostles, set aside the commands of God in one way or another. They choose human decisions rather than what God would want. Granted, some of that is story-telling. I mean, the people on the show are actors working from a script. It’s isn’t real, and it injects twenty-first century reactions into first century situations.
But the reactions of the men and women are played as if they are, and it’s believable. It’s believable because they say and do things that we would. I can believe Peter is realistic because he says and does things that would be familiar to me.
Do you think Jesus would talk to me, then, like He did to the Pharisees, telling me that I’m nullifying the words of God? Let me answer this way: if He didn’t it wouldn’t be because I didn’t deserve it. I do nullify God’s words. I do it in many different ways. I set aside the commands of God in so many different ways that I often forget how much I do it. When I look at some woman in lust, when I curse out again, when I let that old grudge darken my mood, when I lose my temper, when I judge the guy on the other side of the aisle, when I say things that hurt my wife, when I do ANYTHING that is in any way contrary to Jesus I nullify and set aside the Word of God.
And so do you.
Forgive my failing You in all my sins, Lord.
Read Mark 7, verses 1-23.