traditonal and modern architecture October 4 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Mark 2:1-28; Matthew 9:1-17; Luke 5:17-39; Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5

Change versus Tradition

Who gave you the right to change the way we have always done things? What authority do you have? These questions imply that tradition trumps change. We are comfortable with the way we have always done things—it works for us. We don't like alterations; we like comfort and predictability. Those in new leadership can face stiff challenges fighting for needed improvements because of traditions. Not all of them are bad. Some are good and helpful. How can we tell if a change or tradition is good or bad? Today's Bible study may help us with this question.

In Jesus’ day the Romans governed the provinces of Judea, Galilee, and the surrounding areas of Israel. The two primary religious groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, along with the Herodians (a political party loyal to King Herod) kept the local people, the Jews, in line. They were responsible for handling the civic and religious cases. The Romans supervised the general order of the provinces and executed malicious criminals.

Jesus is a new leader on the scene. He is popular with the common people because of his miracles and teachings. Suspicious and curious, the religious leaders and Herodians closely watch him.

One day, as they are listening to him teach, they hear Jesus say something outrageous—he tells a paralytic man that his sins are forgiven .

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:6-12, NIV)

Do we need our sins forgiven? Our answer is not more religion—it is a relationship with Christ which saves us. God offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life through his Son, Jesus (more...).

Both change and tradition should be based on the right motivations. Is tradition needed? Is change necessary? The Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses do not question their own practices, but they question Jesus' practice of eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus answers them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31 –32, NIV). In other words, his mission is not to minister to those who are devout (like the religious leaders who do not want their reputations sullied) but to save sinners. To do this, Jesus has to mingle with them. If we want to save sinners from sin and hell we must be friendly and mingle with them. We must get out of our religious circles from time to time to save the lost.

“Why do we do as we do?” is a question which all of us need to be ready to answer. The Apostle Peter instructs believers, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1Peter 3:15 (NIV). At first, Jesus does answer with patience and respect. Later, however, when the religious leaders are on the attack and no longer interested in what Jesus has to say, he rebukes them and their traditions.

Leaders who want to change the status quo must first establish their authority to do so. This does not mean they have to work miracles, but somehow people must come to recognize them as authorities.

Change and tradition in religious circles should be based on Biblical authority. Jesus’ authority is from God. In the same instance of the healing of the paralytic man, he makes reference to the writings of the prophet Hosea (which the teachers of the law should have known): “For I [God] desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6, NIV). This doesn't imply that God doesn't want us to gather together for worship in churches or other assemblies, but mercy, grace, justice, and respect for the Lord trump religious practices. In making a decision to change religious customs, therefore, we must determine if we have the Biblical authority to do it. Are the alterations consistent with God's Word and character as found in the Scriptures? Are our customs more important than sacrifices we might make to help a neighbor or stranger who is in trouble? We must temper tradition with truth, understanding and mercy.

Lessons to Live By

  • Do any of us need our sins forgiven? Our answer is not more religion—it is a relationship with Christ which saves us. God offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life through his Son, Jesus (more...).
  • When making choices as to whether to stick with traditions or make changes, people must recognize our authority. We must be respectable.
  • Change or traditions should be done for the right motivations. Will our actions bring glory to God?
  • Change and traditions, especially in religious circles, must be based on Biblical authority.* Biblical authority does not refer only to the Law of God but also to his character.

Focus Verse

Micah 6:8 (NIV) “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)

*Disclaimer: Major changes and traditions, not minor insignificant preferences, are the thrust of this Bible study.

Here is a video of Jesus and the Pharisees

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A Look Ahead: Jesus is becoming extremely popular. He refutes the religious ministers who try to bind people with their traditions, and he teaches with authority. He casts out demons and heals all manner of diseases. How does he Handle Success? How should we? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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