Are you blocking the way to God?

True religion is not about the rules and regulations; it is about a relationship with the Creator of our souls.

January 23

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

Matthew 15:12

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Are you blocking the way to God?

Some Pharisees had come to challenge Jesus about the way that His disciples were living.  They had a particular issue with the fact that they were not following some of the religious customs of the day.  The Pharisees and other religious leaders had an elaborate system of laws, regulations, and customs that were at least loosely connected to the Law of Moses.  These regulations and customs covered most areas of their lives.

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and religious leaders was to challenge them about the fact that many of those rules and regulations were in direct violation of the commandments of God.  Jesus answered their challenge with a challenge of His own.  The Pharisees were religious ‘experts’ of the day.  They were the professional Jews.  It is interesting to study all of Jesus’ interactions with them; most of them are similar to this one in the way that Jesus related to them.

The disciples come to Jesus and ask Him the question in our verse for the day.  They want to let Jesus know that what He said offended the Pharisees and religious leaders.  Having the whole Bible as our guide we know the answer to their question; of course, He knew it offended them.  In fact, that was His intent.  His response to them was meant to shock them out of their self-righteous, arrogant approach to religion.

True religion is not about the rules and regulations; it is about a relationship with the Creator of our souls.  Rules and regulations are put in place to govern people’s behaviors.  It is God’s desire that our behaviors be governed by our love for Him based our knowledge of Him obtained through His Word.  Rules and regulations often tend to be fences that block people from a true relation with God.

The Pharisees lived their lives governed by a set of rules.  They also expected others around them to live by those same rules.  Anyone who did not live by those rules was not considered spiritual.  Of all the people Jesus interacted with on the earth, this group was the one He seemed to have the least patience with.  Jesus knew their self-righteous adherence to their rules and regulations was blocking them from true faith.  He also knew that they were unwilling to be taught otherwise.

As we lead families, ministries, churches we will come across people that are like the Pharisees.  To them there is one way to do ministry or worship God.  They have created a set of rules and regulations that govern everything they do.  They arrogantly expect all others to adhere to their system and judge others based on their way.  If you follow Jesus’ style you will not waste a lot of time with people like this.  Confront them with the truth and then move on.  If they are within a ministry that you lead, confront them with the truth and then encourage them to move on to someplace where that fits.  Focus on those that want to know God and let God deal with the ones that think they know Him already.  Jesus, show us the ones that desire to know You.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19