Genesis 16, Matthew 15, Nehemiah 5, Acts 15

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Genesis 16, Matthew 15, Nehemiah 5, Acts 15. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Matthew 15:1-9.

In the opening verses of Matthew 15, we read of a confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees are appalled that Christ's disciples did not wash their hands before eating (v. 2). This was not a hygienic washing with soap and water but a ceremonial washing that was completely for show. When the Pharisees confronted Jesus about their unmet expectations, Jesus did not answer but instead asked a question of his own: “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” 

On one hand, the Pharisees wanted to add a requirement to God’s word and hold the disciples responsible for not obeying the requirement they added. On the other hand, they wanted to create an exception, through human reasoning, to that would exempt them from obedience to God’s clearly written will for how adult children should treat their elderly parents.

Can you think of any ways in which believers try to create and judge others by man-made rules? Can you think of any ways in which we try to ignore God’s clear instructions through human reasoning? 

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.