Word of God by Pastor Nick Esguerra

PASSAGE: Matthew 15:1-13

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the Law came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked him, 2 "Why is it that your disciples disobey the teaching handed down by our ancestors? They don't wash their hands in the proper way before they eat!" 3 Jesus answered, "And why do you disobey God's command and follow your own teaching? 4 For God said, "Respect your father and your mother,' and "If you curse your father or your mother, you are to be put to death.' 5 But you teach that if people have something they could use to help their father or mother, but say, "This belongs to God,' 6 they do not need to honor their father. In this way you disregard God's command, in order to follow your own teaching. 7 You hypocrites! How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! 8 "These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. 9 It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!' " 10 Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand! 11 It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean." 12 Then the disciples came to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees had their feelings hurt by what you said?" 13 "Every plant which my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up," answered Jesus.
Matthew 15:1-13 (NIV)

Some Pharisees and Scribes came to Jesus and asked Him, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?”

  • What is tradition?

  • Does Jesus condemn traditions?

  • How do we see tradition concerning God’s commandments?

  • Concerning defilement, what makes man defile?


  • Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" (NIV)

  • A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past which is hand down by word of mouth or by practice.

  • The traditional values (kaugalian o nakagisnan) of Filipinos are focus on family, strong religious faith, a high regard for self-esteem, and strong inter-personal relationships.


Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (NIV) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” Matthew 23:1-3

God’s commandments are divine revelations and laws that are meant to be obeyed and followed. The issue of tradition becomes a problem when they are consider as a law making God’s commandment nullified and void.
Tradition becomes a “law” and God’s law becomes a “tradition”. Modern theology today removes the authority and penalty of God’s law as having the option to obey or not. Liberalism teaches that there is no absolute right or wrong (God’s law); everything is subject to culture (tradition) and personal choice and what brings goodness.

For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Matthew 15:4-6


You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'
Many times we do things for the Lord but without our hearts on it. When our hearts are not on the things we do for God, it becomes a tradition or ritual only.

"The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart."

Let us not be like the disciples in the story that gives preference more to what the Pharisees will say rather than what God says.

When the disciples came to Him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?" (verse 12)
God is planting His words into the hearts of people as the Parable of the Sower says and everything that is not His will be uprooted. Jesus replied in verse 13,
"Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots."


Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" (NIV)

"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'" Matthew 15:16-20 (NIV)