In a culture where seemingly picture perfect lives are being portrayed through popular social media platforms, we find a generation who are searching for something real. New apps on the scene, such as “Be Real”, and reality shows gain more and more attention because there are no filters, and everyday life with everyday people are being portrayed. The world is full of fake people, and It is clear that what people are looking for these days is authenticity, genuineness, and what is real. Could our desire for authenticity be because we are made in the image of God, and that’s what He desires from us?
The Religious vs The Real
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we find that Jesus constantly had issues with certain groups of people. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and religious leaders of that day tried to set a culture that made it almost impossible to get to God. They not only enforced written law but also oral traditions that were passed down. They were more concerned with religion and rituals and creating a culture that looked good on the outside but lacked genuine relationship. He often called them snakes, blind guides, hypocrites, whitewashed tombs.
So why was Jesus so harsh on this group of people when He accepted prostitutes, tax collectors, and those caught in the act of adultery?
Key Scripture: Mark 7:1-8 (NLT)
1. The Religious
- Religious people are critical of others instead of focusing on themselves.
- Mark 7:1-2
- (V1) One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. (V2) They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating.
- Religious people will take scripture out of context to create their own theology.
- Mark 7:3-4
- (V3) The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. (V4) Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.
- This was twisted interpretation of Exodus 30:19 and Exodus 40:12.
- Religious people are more focused on outward traditions than an inward heart condition.
- Mark 7:5
- (V5) So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.
- Taking a commandment or opinion of men and teaching or promoting it as a doctrine from God supports legalism.
2. The Real
- Real people are more concerned about what Jesus thinks than others' opinions.
- The disciples were in a true relationship with Jesus and were more interested in what He thought than the religious people.
- Real people are willing to give God their hearts and not just their lips.
- Mark 7:6
- (V6) “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
- God desires your heart. When He looked for someone to lead Israel, He looked for someone after His own heart.
- Real people are pure worshippers.
- Mark 7:7
- (V7) “Their worship is nothing more than a charade.”
- Real people don’t give God meaningless worship. They pursue Him at every opportunity given.
Steps of Action:
- Be Real in your relationship with Him
- Be Real in your affection for Him
- Be Real in your worship to Him