Tradition Of Men, Deciphering Mark 7:7-8 – Pastor Chukwuemeka Charles Asiegbu

Tradition Of Men:

Tradition Of MenTradition of men is what Jesus called the teachings of the Pharisees of His time. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they were holding firm and teaching the doctrine of men. The doctrine of men here refers to the commandment of men. There was a faceoff between Jesus and the Pharisees because the later accused the disciples of Jesus of breaking what they called the tradition of the elders. Let’s see their conversation below.

“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands”

Mark 7:5

Jesus replied to their statement thus;

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

Mark 7:6-9

Tradition Of Men The Results:

These are the things to deduce from the verses above. Firstly, Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrite. He linked them to the prophecy of Isaiah which states that “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” The implication of this is that the Pharisees worship and honour God with their lips but their hearts is from Him. As a result of that Jesus said their act of worship to God is in vain. Their act of worship is accounted as vain because they teach for doctrine the commandment of men. Again we should also understand that Jesus mention the commandment of God.

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In this regard, the Pharisees do not teach the commandment of God but they teach the commandment of men. Jesus separated the commandment of God from the commandment of men. This meaning, that these are two different things and cannot be mingled together. That is it is either one teaches the commandment of God and forgo the commandment of men and vice versa.

However, the commandment of God is what should be taught to the people of God not the commandment of men. Anybody who teaches the people of God the commandment of men is a hypocrite! So what is commandment of men? Let’s get back again to the verses above and extract the answer(s).

“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?”

Mark 7:5

Tradition Of Men, The Commandment Of Men:

What Jesus called commandment of men is what the Pharisees referred as the tradition of elders. So what is the tradition of elders? The tradition of elders was a series of rules meant to bolster the ceremonial laws of the Jews. And the authority of these rules is not supported by the scripture. Hence Jesus referred to them as commandment of men because they do not have legitimate power over the people of God. Unfortunately, these rules were what the Pharisees of the Jesus era was concentrating their teachings on instead of God’s commandment.

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They didn’t inculcate the knowledge of the commandment of God to the people of God and because of that there was paucity of the knowledge God’s commandment among His people. Jesus said by their continuous teaching of these tradition of elders to the people they make the command of God of none effect.

As a result of this, Jesus accused them thus;

“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

Mark 7:8-9

So, something like eating bread with unwashed hands is the tradition of the elders and shouldn’t be a case among the people of God. But the Pharisees have made it compulsory that people should wash their hands before they eat their breads.

The Pharisees Applauded The Tradition Of The Elders:

And to the Pharisees anyone who is obeying these rudiments is pure in the sight of God but the reverse is the case with Jesus. He said to them as stated below.

“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.”

Mark 7:15

And like Jesus, Apostle Paul warned his audience as he wrote them in Colossi thus;

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Colossians 2:8

Tradition Of Men What Are They In The Church?

Apostle Paul brought the issue of tradition of men to the believers of his time and such is applicable to present day believers. Nowadays, the tradition of men is those things that have been added to the Gospel of Christ. So it is not out place to find teachings which depict the tradition of men in the church of Christ. When Christians are told that not putting on earrings and necklace will make them holy, it’s the tradition of men. If Christians are told to drink olive oil and bring comb to comb their hair, it is the tradition of men. And tradition of men is when Christians are encouraged to pray for their enemy to die.

And when Christians are asked to go bring sand from their family compound, it is the tradition of men. Also anyone who is inducing that Christians who do not pay tithe will not make heaven is teaching the tradition of men. Telling believers to pray and shout blood of Jesus seven times is mere tradition of men. And asking believers to buy handkerchief and call it mantle is another tradition of men. Again, encouraging believers to wear wristbands and aprons as means of protection is another tradition of men.

Apostle Paul’s Instructions:

Apostle Paul called the above mentioned philosophy and vain deceit; he said they are the rudiments of the world. These are not after Christ! And he went further to encourage believers to hold on Christ because from Him the entire body is nourished.

“And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

Colossians 2:19

Therefore, Jesus should be preached to His people without additional rudiments. No ideas should be added to what the scripture has stipulated because the scripture is an idea on its own.

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