And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Sincerely enough, and with a view to helping the people to apply the revealed principles of truth and duty, the national teachers had begun to supply commentaries on, and applications of, the Holy Scriptures. These became ever more and more elaborate; controversies were excited by them, and an authority was claimed for the minute, man-made rule rather than for the comprehensive and searching principle. One part of our Lord's mission was to liberate men from the painful and worryful pressure of these man-made rules, and recover for man the genuine unalloyed moral force on moral beings of God's commands. It was sometimes necessary for him to be severe in dealing with the claims made on behalf of traditions. We can but little conceive how religion was affected, in our Lord's time, by a mere ritual that was so comprehensive, so minute, and yet so ridiculous, that it must have made men hate the very name of religion.
I. MAN-MADE RELIGIOUS RULES ARE ATTRACTIVE TO MEN. It may be said, to all men. It can with confidence be said, to some men. There are, in every age and society, persons who prefer to have their religion done for them; who cannot, and will not, bear the burden of personal responsibility. They ask to have their conduct arranged by rules. And there have always been those who were willing to meet their requests, and to claim authority for so doing. It is a seemingly easy way in which to get through the difficult business of religion, if only it could be made satisfactory; but that it can never be. In all ages, and today, the man-made rules are sure to "make the Word of God of none effect." They are sure to push God out of those direct and personal relations which he bears to each one.
II. MAN-MADE RELIGIOUS RULES ARE RUINOUS FOR MEN. If they could keep them as mere helps and guides, all would be well. But that is just what man has never been able to do. Man-made rules are always pushing out of their place, and into a place which does not properly belong to them. The following points may be worked out and illustrated.
1. Man-made rules shift the basis of authority in religion from God to man, from the true authority to an altogether false one.
2. Man-made rules exaggerate the place of self in religion. For the authority of man is only the authority of idealized self.
3. Man-made rules substitute a religion of hand (conduct) for the religion of the heart. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.