Traditions > Jesus?

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*     Let’s try this one again, this time with a correct chronology!    *
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The other day I was driving home from work and listening to one of our local pastors,TRA David Crespo, on the radio. I enjoy listening to Pastor Crespo a lot. It’s clear he doesn’t have an advanced theology degree (same with me!), but you can tell he loves the Lord and His Word with all of his heart and he keeps things simple so everyone can understand.

Anyway, Pastor Dave was preaching on Matthew 9 and what he said made me think.

“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” – Matthew 9:14-15

Pastor Crespo asked why the disciples of John the Baptist were still together as a group at this point in Matthew 9? Jesus had been baptized by John way back in Matthew 3 and John was put in prison shortly after Jesus began His ministry as recorded in Matthew 4. So, since the whole purpose of John’s ministry was to point the way to Jesus, why hadn’t his followers already switched their allegiance over to Jesus at this point? John had said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Why were these people still following the King’s messenger rather than the King?

Pastor Dave explained that we sinful humans sometimes get so comfortable in our cushioned pews, along with our traditions and rituals, that we lose sight of the forest for the trees. Our religious routines become our idols and the center of our worship. We would much rather stay stuck in our very comfortable ruts than follow the living King of glory. John’s disciples even enlisted the Pharisees in their protest against Jesus’s apparent impiousness. Boy, did those guys miss the boat completely! We can laugh at them but oftentimes we do the same thing – holding on tightly to our treasured routines, traditions and rituals rather than walking with the living Savior, Jesus Christ!

Don’t get me wrong, routines and habits can be good. But let’s make sure we keep our hearts soft and tender for the Lord and follow His leading, otherwise our activities become idols and empty shells.

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