Tradition. Or, outward signs of one’s faith. Jesus was trying to teach that the ancient traditions that had developed over the years that were extensions of religious rites instituted to teach of the coming of the Savior needed to be put away.
One such was the washing of hands before certain daily tasks. In our world we think of washing hands as a simple hygiene issue. However, washing one’s hands before partaking of certain foods or other tasks was a ritual developed over many years of tradition.
Washing hands was a ritual associated with repentance, spiritual cleansing, and other similar situations. However, Sadducees and Pharisees, over the years created traditions associated with rituals. Meaning, they expanded the original rite in an attempt to prove that they were able to more faithful or offer more sacrifice. Who knows at what point things got out of hand, but it is obvious that it did. Jesus ushered in a ‘higher law’ that didn’t require the rigorous sacrifices and daily law. The people were now tasked with a higher law of simply knowing what they should be doing as opposed to offering a rite to show that were abiding by the Holy law.
When Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” They specifically used as the example of Christ and his disciples would eat before they washed their hands. This was a ritual washing, one of the ones that had been developed over the years. Therefore, the doctrines of men, rather than His doctrine. Why would this be something that we need to know to improve our lives today?
Our goal for this week is to look through our lives and evaluate where we have allowed the thoughts of society to interfere with the doctrine of Heavenly Father. A simple one is ‘the Sabbath Day’. Society has changed it to just another day of the week. We can make small changes to achieve major change in our lives.