Week 3


Read: Mark 7:3-13 and your notes from Sunday morning’s sermon.


Intro: This week we look at a new story regarding self-righteousness from the pharisees. This time, we see that the pharisees are very concerned about their own traditions. The tradition in question? Washing your hands. The Pharisees and Jews had over time created an unjustified emphasis on washing hands before eating. The jewish law did require priests to wash their hands before entering the temple, but this ritual of hand washing was simply a man-made tradition that became overblown. The Pharisees and Jews at that time truly used this tradition to set themselves apart from the gentiles and “common” people. It was a way to place themselves above others. This is an example of legalism. The religious people had put more emphasis on laws than they had on their faith. Jesus, once again, calls them out on this implying that they’ve made an idol out of these oral traditions that have been created by men, rather than simply following the written law. He goes even further to call them out for the practice of “Corban.” This is where items or property are devoted to God but not actually given to the church until death. Basically it let someone keep everything for themselves until they die, when they could be using it to take care of others. Jesus gives the example of a son not being able to honor their father and mother by not being able to use that property to support them in their old age. This is just another example of these oral traditions replacing the written Law God had actually given them. He ends with telling them that there are many things that they do like this. So we know that these aren’t the only wild traditions being followed.



 1. In the scripture we read this week the religious people at play choose tradition over what is given to them from God. What results do we see from this?


2. Share a tradition that you or your family have. Do you know where the tradition came from or is it just something you do because you have always done it?


3. Can you think of any traditions that are widely held today that may actually be harmful to our faith or to others? Think of anything that we might temporarily set aside our beliefs for in order to participate in tradition.

    1. (Black Friday shopping all night? Hiring a stripper for bachelor/bachelorette parties? Excessive American patriotism? Every young person going to college and potentially acquiring loads of debt? Only doing “church things” on Sunday? Getting drunk on your 21st Birthday? “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?”) 


Feel free to discuss or ask additional questions as they arise


Spiritual Practice: We are currently focusing on the spiritual discipline of submission. This week, think about what traditions you might hold that either place a wall between you and God or that potentially hold others down. Challenge yourself by even thinking of ways this may happen in the church. For example, do we only invite people to church that we know aren’t atheist or gay or don’t curse too much? 

What would it look like if we just chose to not participate in those traditions? Would we be better able to submit to God if these things weren’t in our way? Would more people come to know Christ if we left tradition behind to simply follow Jesus? 

Closing verse:  Mark 7:8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions”