Jesus always condemned Pharisees for their traditions of purity which were mere sanctimonious rituals. He never liked the lip service of the Pharisees. He raised cudgels against the blind observance of traditions. He used many parables to explain the people the inner truths about things. His words regarding food should are clear and straight forward.
Jesus on Purity
“Then some Pharisees and come teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. And they said to him, ‘Why don’t your disciples follow the tradition of the elders? In fact, they don’t wash their hands before eating.’ Jesus answered, ‘And you, why do you break God’s command for the sake of your traditions?” (Matthew 15:1-3)
“Hypocrites! Isaiah rightly prophesied of you when he said: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for they only teach human rules.”
“Jesus then called the people near him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: what enters into the mouth does not make a person unclean, what defiles one is what comes out of his mouth.”(Matthew 15: 7-11)
Jesus on Traditions
Jesus said that traditions should not be seen as interpreted by some Pharisees. He never said that traditions should be ignored or flouted. Because some of the traditions used were observations of the Commandments of God without any pricks from their conscience or remorse. Many of the traditions were just observed for names’ sake without giving them any significance. It is against such pernicious traditions that Jesus condemned.
Jews and Purity
Jews considered some food items as profane and impure. They considered women impure during their monthly periods. They said approaching a dead body would make them impure. They misconstrued that these human traditions were laws ordained by God.
It is the forbidden foods that became a major impediment in accepting the Gentiles into Christianity in the early days. That is what Peter cleared saying, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” (Acts 10:10) Deep rooted were the mindsets of the Jewish people in those days regarding unclean or profane food.
Purity in Attitude
Jesus insisted purity in attitude in the real sense rather than the outward show. That is what he insisted about observing fasts and other rituals. His words regarding purity are quite clear. It is not the external appearance that matters. Jesus condemned some of the Jews as blind because their hearts were bent upon the mere external observance of the laws of Moses and their minds were afflicted with the malady of spiritual blindness.
Words of Jesus on purity are not only for the Jews of his time but are quite fitting to all those who practice traditions blindly also today. Purity of heart is beatitude. It is a promise. “Fortunate are those with pure heart, for they shall see God.”(Matthew 5:8)
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Dear One this is a very good piece. We should only follow the things which God set forth and not those of man. We are not under the Mosaic law and therefore we do not observe the rituals or laws they did.We are to obey God rather than man.