Updated: Dec 31, 2021
SCRIPTURE Matthew 15:3-9
“Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
God’s command said that everyone should give honor to their father and mother. But Some Jews had found a way to get around this command. If they declared that all their possessions or savings were a gift to God that were dedicated to Him but they were overseeing, they could then say that they were unavailable to help their parents. This kept the property still at the disposal of the one who made the vow, but deprived his parents of any right to it. (They may have said that those things were dedicated to God, but they benefited from the assets). But the greater sin here was not greed, but the sin of a hard, cold, unfeeling heart. If these religious leaders could sin against their parents like this, imagine how they treated others.
We need to have regular spiritual checkups where we assess our hearts - in how we are honoring our parents - but also in the overall area of love for our fellow man. It can be so easy to greedily grasp at the things of this world and forget about our priorities. People are and always will be God’s highest priority.