Before anyone freaks out over this title and thinks I'm going to get all weird, philosophical and turn all morally relevant, let me assure you that I'm not. Sin is sin. The Ten Commandments still apply today.
We'll start with a couple verses that, I think, will help you understand where I'm coming from.
Matthew 16:11 How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Vs 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducess.
Note, Jesus did not say, "Beware of Pilate, the Romans, Herod, Herod's wife, the daughter of Herod's wife..." or anyone else 'outside the camp' that one might fear. His concern was with those within the camp and their teachings. This post and the next will be dealing with some of those teachings and pointing out how the teachers of the day were redefining sin and how Jesus confronted it.
Matthew 15:1 Then some Pharisees and scribes (teachers) came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,
Vs 2 Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.
Vs 3 And He answered and said to them. "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of you tradition?
Vs 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Vs 5 But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, "Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God."
Vs 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Vs 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
Vs 8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.
Vs 9 But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."
I really only needed to post verses 1-6, but 7-9 are so good that I had to include them. Sorry if my posts get a little long. But scripture is very clear on many things if you take the whole, in nice big chunks, and don't just pick and choose bits and piece them together.
Anyway, the Pharisees had become excellent 'rule keepers' and thought their salvation rested in keeping these rules. But their rules had become too extensive. They had evolved from what God originally said into a tyrannical mountain of dos and don'ts that became a cage rather than a place of freedom. We'll see more of that in the next post.
The Pharisees redefined sin, and in the case above, they even provided loop-holes for bad behavior, disobeying God's direct commands for the sake of the traditions of the elders.