Tradition: from within

gospel-of-markJesus Answers. 6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ 8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”…

One should immediately notice that Jesus does not respond to the specifics of the question posed. He responds to their intention and as well their competence for religious leadership. Jesus’ response provides reasoning for rejecting the human traditions that are imposed upon people as an authentic interpretation of the Law. Only the first part appears in the Sunday gospel reading. Jesus first challenges the “elders” with a quotation from Isaiah (vv. 6–7; Isa 29:13) that castigates the people because they substitute human teaching for true devotion to God. The quotation introduces the distinction between outward piety and devotion to God in one’s heart. What is “in the heart” forms the basis for the teaching that follows the exchange between Jesus and his enemies. Jesus substitutes a new understanding of purity. Continue reading