“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithes of mint, rue, and every kind of garden herb, and yet you ignore justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the seat of honor in the synagogues and personal greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unseen tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.”
One of the lawyers *said to Him in reply, “Teacher, when You say these things, You insult us too.” But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you load people with burdens that are hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

Luke 11:42-46

Believers are more at risk of falling into the course of Jesus’ most ardent earthly opponents than they are of backsliding into sin, in my view. It is far easier to turn the rudder gently aside into following the tides of tradition than it is to wildly dive back into the whirlpool of self-indulgent abandon.

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘The one who speaks evil of father or mother, is certainly to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a person says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is, given to God),’ you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother; thereby invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

Mark 7:9-13

The track that the Pharisees plotted seems to go in the right direction, but the heading is off by degrees such that by the time we reach our destination, we are far from the safe harbor of God’s city.

This is no exaggeration; the danger of following the tradition of men is just as real as running afoul of a reef or getting caught in a storm. If we want to arrive safely at home, we should follow the plan set out for us by Jesus, with no outside meddling.

First, we do what is right for our soul’s salvation, then we do what is good for others and we spread the word of that great Destination we are all sailing to. Stay the course!

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published February 7, 2021