Today’s passage is lengthy, yet well worth the read. The lesson Jesus is teaching is one we should take to heart today. How many times do we put tradition above the commands of God? The better question is, how many times do we put our personal preferences above the commands of God?
Are we giving lip service to God, while continuing to be self-serving? Do we put our pet projects above the command from Jesus to seek and save the lost? There is a lot of good work being done by a lot of people. Yet, sometimes, the good works get in the way of the best work.
Our first action is to honor God, not just with words, but with obedience. The greatest honor we can give anyone in a leadership role is to obey their commands. God is no different. Obeying Him is the first thing we must do to be a disciple of Jesus. In other words, obedience is the first cost to count when deciding to be a disciple.
There are many subordinate commands to the honor and obey command. We can list off several of them. Go, baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach what Jesus taught. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Love one another. Be humble. Accept God’s plan for our lives.
The list can grow lengthy. Yet, none of the list of things we can do are worth the paper and ink required to write them down, if we don’t first honor God and do all of those works in love. I sometimes imagine Jesus is sitting on His throne shaking His head and repeating over and over what we see in today’s passage.
I pray we all honor God first. I pray we commit ourselves to obedience of God’s commands. I pray each one of us puts God above tradition and perform all works in love. Put God first. Obey God’s commands. Do all works in love. Honor God in obedience rather than with lip service.
Matthew 15:2-9 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God 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 ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”