The Pharisees and some legal experts from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. They saw some of his disciples eating food with unclean hands. (They were eating without first ritually purifying their hands through washing. The Pharisees and all the Jews don’t eat without first washing their hands carefully. This is a way of observing the rules handed down by the elders. Upon returning from the marketplace, they don’t eat without first immersing themselves. They observe many other rules that have been handed down, such as the washing of cups, jugs, pans, and sleeping mats.) So the Pharisees and legal experts asked Jesus, “Why are your disciples not living according to the rules handed down by the elders but instead eat food with ritually unclean hands?” He replied, “Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you hypocrites. He wrote, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human words. You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” (Mark 7:1-8, CEB)
I often hear people say they have given up on organized religion. Another way people say this is I’m spiritual but not religious.
And this passage is one of the reasons why. We get so hung up on the rules and what we have to do to be a part we lose sight of what God actually told us to do, love.
Rules are good and give us order. But rules that hinder love or cause people to have to do things they can’t are not loving.
Jesus said the law and the prophets can be summed up in two commandments. The law and the prophets is the sum total of the Hebrew Scripture. Those commandments are love God and love neighbor. Love. The only rule you have to follow.
Do not put on appearances and look like you are doing good by keeping the rules. Love.
Love out Loud.
Loving People. Loving God.