Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honour 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 ‘honour their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Matthew 15: 3 – 6
One of the frustrations of living with covid restrictions is the seeming contradictions. You can meet x number of people in this kind of establishment, but not in another? You are restricted in one geographic area but are also free to drive to another? Different rules based on what age you are. While some of these are probably own goals, the truth is that it was probably impossible to make consistent rules to deal with a crisis like this. There were always going to be anomalies and inconsistencies that just don’t make sense.
The Legalists in Jesus’s day had tried to take the Old Testament and turn it into a comprehensive set of rules. No matter what the situation was, there would be a rule for it. But the more precise they tried to be, the more they began to contradict themselves. In their pursuit of an all-encompassing set of laws, they had lost sight of what those laws were actually supposed to do in the first place.
Jesus came to remind people that the goal isn’t outwardly conform to the rules, but to be transformed from the inside out.
Prayer: Living God, help me to be transformed from the inside out. Remind me that it’s not just about following the rules, but about becoming a more peaceful, compassionate and understanding person.
Act: What habits and rules do you use to structure your life? Have a think is there’s any of them that aren’t fulfilling their original purpose. Maybe it needs a change.