July 05, 2020 AM
Dr. Michael Catt - 1972
#8 in series
SERVANT KING: Rituals vs. Righteousness
In Jewish history, there were many categories of leaders. The best known were the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians. All of them believed they were the guardians of truth.
1) The Scribes were founded by Ezra and set up the synagogues for studying the law.
2) The Pharisees wanted to protect Judaism from foreign influence. They were nationalistic and patriotic, protectors of tradition.
3) The Sadducees were the liberals of the day – they had little regard for tradition or the supernatural.
4) The Herodians were political activists.
Over time, all of them became corrupt, or at least self-serving. It is important that we understand the subtle diversions of traditions held above truth.
I. THE EXALTATION OF RITUALS IS NOTHING NEW
In the first century, they were leaders in the nation and zealous for God and His law. They worked diligently to keep all the commands – they even made up new rules just in case God missed something.
“It is far easier to lead people to engage in action than it is to lead them to act from a Christian motivation. That is one reason it is so much easier to make Pharisees than it is to make Christians.” – Dr. Findley Edge
“Tradition was the most constant, persistent, utterly devilish opposition the Master encountered.” – Thomas Dixon
II. EXPRESSIONS OF ANTAGONISM AND ARROGANCE ARE NOTHING NEW
Principles to ponder:
1) Traditions must be judged on the basis of __, not __.
2) Keeping __ is living a lie.
3) Acceptance on the basis of __ leads to __.
In the 400-500 years before Christ, the Scribes were expanded and added to the rules and regulations governing every area of life. These rules weren’t written down; they were called “Oral Law.”
“Among the Jews, you could have washed your hands with the finest of soaps and scrubbed like a doctor preparing for surgery; but if you did not do it in a certain way, you were just as unclean, ceremonially, as though you had not washed at all.” – Ray Steadman
"Legalism is a fleshly attitude which conforms to a code for the purpose of exalting self.” – Charles Ryrie
III. THE EXPRESSION OF TRUTH
“Will we let God be as He is…or will we always be trying to whittle Him down to the size of our small minds, insisting on confining Him within the boundaries we are comfortable with?” – Eugene Peterson
Jesus highlights their hypocrisy with an illustration about honoring father and mother and providing for their needs in old age or when they were ill. They would issue the vow of “korban” – in other words, claiming a portion of their resources for God as justification for neglecting the care of their parents. This korban could include people, money, land, possessions, inheritance – anything.
Rabbi Eleazer said, “He who expounds the Scriptures in opposition to the tradition has no share in the world to come.” Mishna was the Jewish tradition in the Talmud. “It is a greater offense to teach anything contrary to the voice of the Rabbis than to contradict Scripture itself.”
“Deeds done from a corrupt heart are what make a person unrighteous, not what one eats, drinks, or touches.” – Chuck Swindoll
IV. THE EXAMINATION OF OUR HEARTS