I love the movie “Fiddler on the roof”. One of my favorite movies and such a great soundtrack (I have the soundtrack record). Anyway, The opening scene is the score “Tradition” where the main character tells of the traditions the entire town keeps. At one point he talks about a tradition of keeping his head covered and wearing a prayer shawl to “show their constant devotion to God”. He then says “How did this tradition get started? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition!”
In the opening of Mark 7 we see Jesus confront traditions. In the past I thought Jesus was discussing the elevation of the law above reaching people and being relevant to a generation. This is not what Jesus is addressing. If you do some research, Jesus is confronting the fact that the these Pharisees, claiming to be teachers of God’s truth and law, were in fact only teaching the traditions of man. These “traditions of the elders” in Mark 7 are actually not in the law.
Many times we do this in the church. We focus on teaching things that aren’t actually biblical at all. A real pastor wears a suit, you can’t run in “God’s house”, no drums in the church, no loud music in church, visitation is on tuesdays, prayer meeting on wednesdays, pot-lucks at the church is the only way to do outreach, we need to have a program for everything, etc… All these things aren’t bad, but when we teach them and hold fast to them instead of God’s word and His direction for His church, I think Jesus would say “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Let’s be the people who cut down the traditions of man and uphold biblical doctrine to reach a perishing generation.