Monday, June 25, 2018
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Mark 7:5
ach tribe, ethic group or nation have their peculiar traditions. Not just traditions but some peculiarities. While some of the peculiarities are pleasant some are not. Some places are known for a particular type of disease sickness. Some blindness ,others lameness, deafness, dumbness ,some places are battling with strange disease. Most times traditions of people are tailored around challenges solved or yet to be resolved. Some are tailored around their religion, social life and other factors.

The issue today is how relevant and helpful is your tradition? Jesus replied:“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ 8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” 9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. “Mark 7:6-8. Jesus reply implied their tradition is skewed against God. Their tradition is hypocritical .

You want to ask yourself ‘is the tradition I am following helping my destiny or am I just being dogmatic.’

I grew up in the Western part of Nigeria. Masquerades were one of the traditions. They will come up in different colourful dresses with various scary masks. My grandparents and parents who were Christians would lock us up in the house it was a taboo to participate in such pagan tradition as a Christian! The masquerades have long whips to beat people . We were told they were from ‘heaven.’ Last December we had International Gathering of Eagles Conference in Uyo capital Akwa- Ibom, State in Nigeria we saw masquerades but this time they were no more with whips , they approached our wound-up air conditioned cars banging on the glasses and were demanding for money, they will not allow us pass until our hosts came to rescue us. I had to ask ‘ do masquerades now spend money in heaven?’

This is not a critique of people’s beliefs, anybody is free to believe and worship whatever they desire ;but the question is what is the motive of that tradition ; is it hypocritical ? Is it deceitful?

Jesus was not querying the hygiene of hand washing but the religious connotation behind it, the ritual associated with it.

What rituals are you performing that are no longer adding value to your life? What has become your life style or your family tradition that is no more helpful?

We were in India, we saw fat cows roaming the street, one American Pastor said - they worship what they should use as barbecue!

God has given me grace to become born again and be ordained as a Pastor. As part of my clerical duties I have been called upon to name children . I always refer to the tradition of our parents how they name children in their days. They usually come up with many items to pray for them : such items include , walnut , kola- nut, groundnut, coconut and I always say if all they gather to pray for the children are ‘nuts’ there is tendency the children will grow up to be nuts or naughty! That it is unnecessary to bring any of those items now , we only name now in the name of Jesus. I was born in a mission house and named in a church and the tradition of naming me with the name of Jesus has helped my life and destiny.

This is what the Holy Spirit is teaching us today, check the tradition before becoming a victim of it For example in some parts of Nigeria they put marks on faces of children, as we were told to identify their root should war break out. You don’t need to deface anybody anymore. Read Matthew 5 you will see many reforms Jesus brought to his generation. Some of traditional changes Jesus alluded to are:

  1. We are no more under the law, but under grace.

  2. We are no more saved by circumcision but by faith.

  3. We are no more saved by killing and shedding of blood of animals and birds but by the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for us at Calvary.

  4. We are no more to worship idols, gods, that have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, what is called ‘man made gods’ but the Trinity God, God the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost.

  5. We are no more to just wash the external hands but to watch our heart. Not to change our garment but our heart. No more to serve the devil in any form but Jesus.

  6. We are no more to live as if we have no hope, but to live as people with hope knowing one day we shall abandon this corruptible body for an incorruptible body, this mortal body for immortality with Jesus the Bishop of our soul.

  7. We are no more to follow any man made tradition that has the capacity to incapacitate us on earth, financially, physically, academically, spiritually, matrimonially, having no relevance to our progress on earth and will not add value to our life eternal.