Read Matthew 15:1-3
1 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him,2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
3 Jesus replied,”And why do you,by your traditions,violate the direct commandments of God? (NLT)
It is all too easy to confuse genuine Christian faith with our own long-standing practices. We get so used to doing certain things relating to faith and church that we assume those things are part and parcel of the faith. This was certainly true for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
Here they question Jesus about the practice of ritual handwashing (not to do with hygiene but with ritual purity). Jesus goes on to rebuke them for using such traditions to avoid obedience to the actual commands of God. The traditions which were meant to express sincere belief became barriers to such belief. The man-made rules became more important than God’s original rules.
In our own time we can let our church and individual practices hinder rather than help our following of Jesus. Our traditions are not so much to be cast aside as constantly examined in the light of the gospel. Do they propel our faith forward or do they weigh our faith down? As has been said,traditions are the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.