not like us

September 2015 (29)Mark 7:1-5

1 Now after the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they saw that some of his disciples were eating with ordinary hands, that is, without ceremonially washing them. 3 (Because the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they vigorously wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they immerse it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the immersion of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with ordinary hands?”

not like us

The Pharisees and scribes believed that they were doing things the right way. They believed that their conduct made them special in God’s sight. Then they encountered these disciples of an unorthodox Rabbi who were not like them. They could not understand a religious devotion that did not follow their rules of cleanliness and godliness.

All around us there are people who do not follow our rules. They see no reason to approach life the way we do. Sometimes they are right, because we Christians do some things ritually that are not commanded by Christ. But the most important thing that we must show the world is that we are free to not do what they think they must. This freedom of ours to not follow the crowd is what sets us apart, and can draw people to Christ. But we must avoid looking down on those who are still trapped in the standards of this world. Otherwise, we become guilty of the same critical attitude which made the Pharisees and scribes miss the point.

LORD, show us how to live in the freedom of the gospel that stands out and makes people seek you.

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