READING: Numbers 7-8, Mark 7:1-30
Jesus’ words in Mark 7—a quote from the book of Isaiah that He used to describe the religious leaders of His time—perhaps best summarize religious hypocrisy. Those leaders were going through their religious rituals and customs, but they missed the Messiah in their midst. Instead, their traditions had become their gods. It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus quoted Isaiah’s words: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands”(Mark 7:6-7).
On the outside, everything they did looked and sounded good – but God was looking at their hearts. He alone could see that though they claimed to worship Him, they were instead only following their own traditions. They were religious hypocrites leading others astray.
Lest we condemn the Pharisees and scribes without self-reflection, though, I’m reminded that sometimes my heart and my lips aren’t always in sync, either. I know that’s the case, but I don’t want to worship God in vain. True disciples worship Him in truth.
PRAYER: “God, forgive me when I’m not the follower I claim to be.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Numbers 9-10, Mark 7:31-8:21