2 minute read.
Daily Reading: Genesis 46:1-47:31 ESV, Matthew 15:1-28 ESV, Psalm 19:1-14 ESV, Proverbs 4:14-19 ESV
Daily Verse: “He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3 ESV)
PARABAINO (3845): “To go contrary to, i.e., violate a command. To go aside, hence to go beyond. Means to overstep, disregard and accepted boundary either on purpose or neglect; to violate.” [i]
Tradition breaks commandments.
Once again, the Pharisees question Jesus. Prioritizing the Father over tradition puzzles the religious leaders. Having spent their lives learning, memorizing, and incorporating Jewish tradition into every part of their lives, Jesus bucks the system. What the Pharisees don’t understand, tradition became their god. They miss God in the flesh because they worship the law.
Missing the forest for the trees means people are focusing on the details to the extent they can’t see the larger situation.[i] Law became trees for the Pharisees. Loving God and people got lost in the urgency to keep tradition established long ago. Spiritually blind to God’s Son standing before them, not understanding Jesus’s message.
Remember the forest.
People want to know God’s will for their lives. Everyone searches for their purpose. We get caught up in the trees, worrying about small parts, ignoring the whole. Four words summarize God’s purpose for our lives: love God, love others:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 ESV)
Jesus summed up our shared life purpose in 47 words. God expects us to love whoever He places before us. We can only accomplish our divine task by loving God. Simple to say, hard to live. God’s word teaches us to have healthy, thriving relationships by applying Biblical wisdom to daily life. Following Jesus teaches us how.
If we put the law before love, we’ll become like the Pharisees. But if we love first and foremost, we’ll become like Christ. Jesus didn’t break the commandment. Every breath the Son took loved God and people. Nowhere did Jesus falter. He kept His eye on the forest.
Stay out of the trees. Keep the greatest commandment. Love God, love others.
[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (p. 188) Thomas Nelson