We can get hung up traditions can't we? Traditions are good, but many times we make it all about the traditions and end up totally missing the point. People end up getting all worked up because the walls have been painted off-white instead of white... Or the carpet is no longer red... Or the ushers aren't wearing ties.
When traditions begin to get in the way of love... When they cause you to exclude people instead of include... Then it's time to get rid of that tradition, and make a new one.
There is something interesting going on in Mark chapter 7. The religious people are, of course, making a big deal over Jesus' followers not washing properly before a meal... This was a tradition, and depending on who's side you were on depended on how you washed the dishes... Do you just wash the inside, the outside, or both?
When they ask Jesus a question such as, "why don't your followers wash before a meal?" they are asking Jesus which side of the debate he is on.
Now I, for one, am all for someone washing their hands before handling food, but that's just me. Jesus doesn't seem to mind. Instead, he says they are missing the point all together.
He says it like this, "You are very good at setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions."
Do our traditions get in the way of following the commands of God (love God and neighbor)?
Later a greek (non-jewish) woman comes to Jesus wanting him to heal her daughter from unclean spirits. Jesus responds by saying...
"first let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."
("children" referred to Israel. "dogs" was what Jews called Gentiles.)
Yikes, pretty harsh. It seems that Jesus says "no" because she isn't Jewish, and he even compares her to a dog. Is this the same Jesus who says to love your neighbors?
But the woman doesn't take "no" for an answer. She replies...
"Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
The woman seems to do to Jesus what Jesus usually does to others, she turns his words around on him.
And then Jesus heals the woman's daughter.
Did this woman correct Jesus? Or was Jesus testing her faith? Or Was Jesus merely proving a point or teaching a lesson to the crowd and/or his followers?
Did Jesus forget what He had just said... "Your own traditions get in the way of following God's commands?" and did it take a Greek woman to remind him?
What do you think?