Jesus was famous for the gentle and merciful way he treated sinners. When lost souls trapped in sin and dead religion or no religion came to him, Jesus reached out and confronted them with a demonstration of the love of God. The same cannot be said regarding the way he confronted false religious teachers. The self-righteous were confronted with the Law of God as gently as someone with a sledgehammer. Why? Because that is what was needed to break away the layers of self justification and righteousness from outward acts. Such was the case in Mark chapter 7.

The Pharisees and scribes had come up to Galilee to try and openly discredit Jesus’ teachings before they spread all the way to Jerusalem and exposed their dead traditions. There are a few things I would like to point out from this encounter. I’m sure there are more there.

He said to them, “ All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God ), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:9-13 NKJV)

The first thing Jesus does is to quote the Law of Moses, which they could not deny. Jesus didn’t quote their rabbis, the Talmud, or the Mishnah. He only gave authority to the Law. In fact, Jesus affirms here that the writings of Moses are the Word of God. He starts of with “For Moses said” and in verse 13 calls it the Word of God. He thereby affirms the dual authorship of Scripture by saying that Moses was writing God’s words. The same things is stated by Paul when writing to Timothy.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NIV)

These are not the word of Moses that God had breathed on. These were God’s word breathed into Moses and onto the page.

Concerning the subject of his rebuke, The Lord has always put a strong emphasis on the necessity of honoring, or caring for, ones parents in their latter years. It was part of the Ten Commandments. In fact, one could be put to death for failing to care for their parents. Jesus even tended to this necessity while hanging on the cross when he commissioned John to care for his mother Mary. But the Pharisees and scribes had a tradition that said that if someone dedicated money to God, even all of their money, then it could not be used for anything other than gifts to God at the temple. This was very profitable for the ruling religious leaders at the temple! So if your parents needed assistance, all you had to do was say that the money had been dedicated to God (aka Corban) and you were released from that obligation.

Jesus confronts this error and brings them back to what the Word said. They were to honor their father and mother. For those who may read this and have a church that demands tithing, here is an experiment you should try. Ask your pastor or elders if it is okay to take part of your tithe and use it to aid your needy or ill parents. If they tell you that doing so would be a sin, run because they are declaring part of your money as Corban and are nullifying the Word of God. If they are godly, they should tell you that tithing is not a New Covenant law, or at least to go ahead and give your parents or a sick relative the aid and comfort they need, but to also pray that The Lord would enable you to continue giving at the same level.

You take a look at what I have written here. Test it and hold to what is true. Then act accordingly.