Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on July 27, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 15:1-9 (NKJV)
15:1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 ‘And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Traditions are woven into the fabric of our lives, from holidays to family gatherings. The Lutheran Church has seen traditions as helpful. It has even devoted parts of our Confessions to the use of traditions, notably Article X of the Formula of Concord.
Our Lord discusses traditions as well, but from a different perspective. Instead of traditions that are meant to instruct in God’s Word, the Pharisees and scribes uphold traditions that distract from–or even contradict–God’s Word. Jesus then explains that the outward traditions of these groups are in vain, as He quotes the prophet Isaiah.
Even today, we see churches who boast of ancient traditions without the substance of their teaching being rooted in God’s Word. The church of Rome, of the East, and even of general Protestants all have traditions which either re-interpret or distract from God’s Word.
If a tradition is worth retaining in the Church, it should inevitably lead us back to God’s Word and not away from it. Tradition should elevate Christ and encourage our faith, instead of being a vehicle for self-righteous flattery.
Prayer: Lord of All Power and Might, Who art the Author and Giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of Thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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