‘They found fault … in vain do they worship me’, Mark 7. 2, 7.
How sad it is to note that some only came among the disciples to find fault. What was it that led them to be so motivated? Are there lessons for us as we consider their error and the Saviour’s response?
The nation had sunk to its nadir. Such was the darkness that enveloped it, its so called leaders had promoted the traditions of men above the commandment of God. Their desire to protect their views and ‘rules’ had overtaken the need to obey God’s word, and in doing so it had turned them into hypocrites and vessels that were utterly empty of what God desired chiefly from them – worship, John 4. 23, 24.
The Lord Jesus, with an incisive use of the Holy Scriptures, exposes them for what they are, and in doing so reminds us of the danger of finding fault with others on the basis of ‘our rules’. He exposed the root of the problem. It wasn’t the lack of obedience on the part of His disciples, but rather the attitude of heart which was displayed in the actions of those who came to find fault – ‘the things that come out of a man, those are they that defile a man’, v. 15. In other words, their inappropriate fault-finding displayed their true heart, vv. 21-23.
Sadly, I fear that there are those who still come to find fault with His disciples – they are always on the look-out for what they can pick the saints up on. Indeed, maybe it is something that we all can be prone to. God forbid! Let’s heed the lesson to be drawn from this incident in the life of our Saviour and ensure that we are never motivated by a love for the tradition of men above the commandment of God. Let us be diligent in ensuring our practice is drawn from scripture alone and let all else be in its right place.
How sad that the nation which was redeemed from the bondage of Egypt to serve in worship of God, was, in all their fussiness about their rules, found ‘empty’ in God’s sight.
Let the divine light search us individually as to any hint of it in our own attitudes. Where it is found, it disallows and devalues our highest and most wondrous exercise – worship. Let us not retreat, as the Pharisees and scribes did that day, in indignation, with a determination to show that we are right and scheme to return and destroy. Repentance would have been far more appropriate than angry pride.
We would wish to place on record our appreciation of the hard work of all those who have written for the magazine with the purpose of bringing the wonderful truth of God’s word to us. The series on Ephesians, Titus and personalities around the Crucifixion have now come to a close and we would thank the brethren who have undertaken these so helpfully. New series on Colossians, Mark and the twelve tribes of Israel have commenced and we hope that these, along with the other articles, will be a blessing to the Lord’s people.