Bible Reading: Mark 7:1-13
The Pharisees inappropriately used Scripture to support the practice of their own religious laws. These were not God’s laws…but laws that they developed in an attempt to help them keep God’s laws. However, as time passed, they began to give the same level of importance to their laws as to God’s Law. Jesus said that they had made the keeping of their laws more important than loving God. And, in fact, they had so lost touch with God and what He had originally intended by His law…that they had made laws that actually contradicted God’s law.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
You broke the law! Yeah, you, my Grandkid! I can’t believe it. Well, actually, I can believe. Because there is a good chance that I broke the law, too. I was reading the other day and was blown away at how many laws there are. Federal laws are the ones that are made by our national government in Washington, D.C. and apply to people in all 50 states. Then, there are additional laws that each State makes. Then, there are additional laws that Counties make…and additional laws that Cities make…and of course, there are the laws that your Mom and Dad make (you can’t go to jail for breaking those…but you can go to timeout). There are over 300,000 Federal laws. The books that they are written in contain over 100 million words. That is the reason why one expert in the law says that the average American accidentally breaks some law…3 times each day. That’s right…3 times…each day. Hmmmm, that means the average American breaks the law over 1,000 times per year. Uh, oh…we could be in trouble!
I read about some people who accidentally broke the law…
- A 12-year old, 7th grade girl, was arrested and handcuffed for eating one French Fry on the Washington subway system.
- A Grandmother suffering from cancer was arrested and charged with a crime for not trimming her bushes the way city officials demanded.
- A guy who had been a science genius in High School was sent to prison after being arrested by the FBI for not putting the correct sticker on a UPS package.
- A 67-year-old grandfather was sent to prison because some of the paperwork for the orchid business that he ran out of his home did not satisfy an international treaty.
Here are just a few of the laws that we can break without even realizing it…
- Connecting to the Wi-Fi at a restaurant or store without permission
- Using a fake name on the Internet
- Singing “Happy Birthday”, or Christmas songs, or “Macarena” in public may be breaking copyright infringement laws
- Speeding (was that a 70 MPH sign, or a Highway 70 sign?)
- Not getting a dog license
- Jaywalking (you’re supposed to cross the street at the corners)
- Possessing a “Permanent Magic Marker” in public (because it can be used for vandalism).
Did you know that there is even a software program called PredPol, (Predictive Policing), that is being used by Police Departments in cities all across the U.S. that is supposed to predict a crime…before it happens?
We’ve got laws…and laws to help enforce those laws…and laws to make sure that we keep those laws. They go on, and on, and on. There’s probably a law against writing about all of the laws that there are. Oops…that may be the first law that I’ve broken, today. I’ve still got two more to go…just to be average.
It’s not anything new…having lots of laws. They had the same problem in Jesus’ day. Well, not the same problem…no laws about the Internet, Magic Markers, and French Fries. But, the government and religious officials kept stacking laws onto laws onto laws…you get the picture. Now, you know me, I always try to give people the benefit-of-the-doubt. Initially, they were probably trying to do a good thing. They were trying to keep God’s Law, the 10 Commandments. That’s a good thing. But they knew that it can sometimes be difficult to keep the 10 Commandments. For instance, the 10th Commandment says, “You shall not covet…”. The word “covet” means to want something so bad that it begins to control you. You begin to think how you can get it…no matter what you have to do. Have you ever wanted something so bad…that it was all you could think about? And, you began to think that it wasn’t fair for you to not have it? That’s what it means to covet. So, to keep from breaking God’s Law…they made up additional laws of their own. For instance, there was a group among the religious leaders called the Pharisees who decided that when they went out into public, into the city, they would wear blinders on the sides of their faces…so that they would not see anything to their right, or to their left. That way, they wouldn’t even have the chance to see something that they might covet. God also gave laws that dealt with not touching a dead animal that you found alongside the road, not touching a nasty sore on someone, not touching anything that had mold on it, and more. And again, these Pharisees didn’t want to break these laws…so, they made up their own laws to keep them from breaking God’s laws. They had all kinds of laws about washing dishes, and washing their hands before they eat to make certain that they didn’t break any of God’s laws. They had good intentions, originally. But, after a while, they began to think that if keeping their laws kept them from breaking God’s laws…then their laws were as important as God’s laws. And, get this…if you didn’t keep their laws…they said that you were not keeping God’s laws. That’s what they meant when they accused Jesus of not keeping God’s law. Actually, He was keeping God’s law. But, He wasn’t keeping their laws. But, as I have explained…they felt that when Jesus did not keep their laws…He was not keeping God’s laws, either.
What was the result? They had begun to keep the law just for the sake of keeping the law…without giving any consideration to why God had originally given His Law and what it meant. Jesus said that the real result was that their hearts had become far from God. It had gotten to the place…that they weren’t keeping their laws because they loved God…but because they loved their laws.
We need to be careful…because if we’re not…then we can begin to act in the same way. Without even realizing it…we make up our own Christian laws. Our laws say that we are supposed to go to church, give money, read the Bible, pray, and go on missions. Those are all good things…but, if we are not careful…we can do them for the wrong reason. We do it because…”That’s what Christians are supposed to do”. We’re doing good things…but our heart has become far from God…because we are not doing them because we love God…but because we love doing good things.
Think about it, today. Why do you do the things that you do. There should be only one reason…because you love God. And, when you do those things…that is your way of expressing your love to God.
And by the way, your Dad has the PredPol software on his computer…and he knows what you were thinking about doing, yesterday. Busted! Not really. But your Mom does have eyes in the back of her head…so be careful!
Love you more than bunches and bunches,