The people whom you would have expected to have been Jesus' most keen supporters were opposed to Him. It is a surprise. They were antagonistic. The religious leaders did not welcome the Messiah.Here we see the contrast between Christianity and religion. This is not a religion - and we need to be reminded of that and people need to hear this truth. Chapter 7 of Mark's Gospel has much to say to us about the danger of becoming over familiar with the things of God. The Pharisees were like a political party in Israel. They were a very strict sect and these men were legalist in religion - and nationalist in politics. Sadducees were the wealthy party and rejected the supernatural. The Scribes were men who tried to explain the position of the Pharisees. The Herodians wanted to keep Herod on the throne as it was good for their business. The Zealots were opposed to the political situation - when Rome was the ruling authority. These were the five main parties in Israel. A fact finding committee comes down from Jerusalem, and they cannot find fault with Jesus but they do find fault with Jesus' followers. People will find fault with us and we have to be as careful as possible. Remember, this is the only Bible some people will ever read - our lives. We can add more and more rituals and routines and traditions, and these can become more important than Jesus Christ and His Word. This is what Jesus came up against. They were not washing their hands to get them clean, but just in case they had touched a Gentile outside. They came from the market place. Jesus pointed out that they had turned their religion from an internal matter into an external matter. They were very exact about how they washed. Isaiah saw this, and Jesus refers to Isaiah's preaching and teaching. Jesus saw all this as hypocrisy. Jesus called them hypocrites. They were wearing masks - they were good actors - they were putting on an act. 'Hypocrites' at that time was the word used for actors. Their spiritual life was sinking. They had substituted a divine command for a human idea. Do not let your spiritual life sink. Keep your communion with the living God fresh and intimate and sincere and genuine. Walk with Jesus Christ. Be filled with Holy Spirit, and be prepared to overflow.
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