Healing, eating with tax collectors, fasting, the Sabbath. These are some of the issues that the Pharisees questioned in Mark 2:13-Mark 3:6. It is clear that Jesus was all about relationship while the Pharisees were all about religion.
Years ago I began to ask myself, “Is what I believe biblical truth? Am I following truth or only what I have been taught out of tradition?” As I started to ponder these questions I realized there was a fair amount of Pharisee in me. My greatest struggle was what I could really do on Sundays. What was the Sabbath? What was considered work? The Pharisees ignored that it was lawful to handpick grain on the Sabbath (Duet. 23:25). Instead they held on to tradition or simply ignored the law altogether. How important it is for us to know what the Word really says.
How about you? Legalism is a killer. You and I can’t follow religion and follow it perfectly. However, following Jesus offers us relationship and GRACE. James 1:26-27 says “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Aren’t you thankful for grace? Jesus knows we fall short and He offers us grace as we learn His ways. Legalism ties weights on us that we were never meant to carry.
William MacDonald notes that “Christianity has always suffered from man’s attempts to mix it with legalism. “ Where might you have mixed the two?
Jesus said it best, “Follow me.” Today may you and I follow truth and leave behind the bondage of tradition that is not of God.
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Acting Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.