7Hypocrites! 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. 9And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Jesus now indicted the religious hierarchy of Israel. There is no turning the other cheek when it comes to distortion of truth—no sweetness and light here.
Jesus pulled the mask of hypocrisy from the faces of the official delegation. The word “hypocrite” means phony. The religious delegation came with a phony charge of washed hands, whereas they did not respect Scripture. They were completely inconsistent in handling the Bible.
Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 to expose their deceit. He fortified His argument with Scripture.
‘These people [Israel] draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
The scribes and Pharisees placed their tradition over God Himself. It is one thing to talk Bible but it is another thing to live Bible. Ritual is one thing but reality is another. Ritual reveals empty talk while the Word of God changes the heart.
And in vain they worship Me,
Worship not based on the Bible is worthless.
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Putting tradition over the Bible renders worship empty by prioritizing the mere dead words of men rather than the Word of God.
Believers are to be long on Scripture and short on tradition.
True worship is in spirit and truth rather than in ceremony. Biblical worship comes from a transformed heart. There is nothing wrong with tradition as such; the problem lies in the heart behind tradition.