Then Pharisees and legal experts came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why are your disciples breaking the elders’ rules handed down to us? They don’t ritually purify their hands by washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “Why do you break the command of God by keeping the rules handed down to you? For God said, Honor your father and your mother, and The person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death. But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you I’m giving to God as a gift,” then you don’t have to honor your father.’ So you do away with God’s Law for the sake of the rules that have been handed down to you. Hypocrites! Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human rules.” Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:1-14, Common English Bible).
Back in the early 1980’s two Texas banks merged together. At the time it was hailed as a great move for all concerned. Months later, the FDIC moved in and closed the new bank, selling the banks assets to another bank, out of state. Words used to describe the original merger were, “One drunk trying to hold up another.” Another way to say it could be, “The blind leading the blind.”
“The blind leading the blind.” It’s an idiom that quite simply describes a situation where a person who knows nothing is getting advice and help from another person who knows nothing. Such is the way Jesus describes the Pharisees in our lesson today.
It isn’t that Jesus was saying the Pharisees didn’t know the law. They knew. They were authorities in all “the rules.” Where they fell short was in the application. Everything was about the expectation that everyone, including Jesus, would follow the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law.
These guys mouths were full of rules but their hearts were empty. Their worship was without meaning. Jesus talks then about the blind leading the blind and that they will fall in a ditch. When the blind lead the blind falling in a ditch could be one of the best possible outcomes. They could, like the picture above, walk off the edge of a cliff.
For some today, worship is about checking another thing off the weekly to do list. There is no real life. Sure, the Ten Commandments may say, “Worship the Lord Your God…” but if that worship is accompanied by an empty heart, it isn’t worship at all. If our worship is not included with love of neighbor, service in the name of Jesus Christ, our hearts are empty. We fall short of Jesus’ words in today’s lesson. And, should we get someone to follow us to worship, it once again is the blind leading the blind.
How do you live out your worship and service?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved