Traditional Troubles

Image result for christmas in japan

Apparently, Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, but they still celebrate it. How they celebrate, however, is somewhat unusual. It seems that back in the 1970’s, the company behind KFC decided to do some intense marketing to the Japanese people, so they pushed KFC as the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. The idea caught on, and Japanese KFC’s report their biggest sales of the year on Christmas Eve. Because nothing says “Christ is born” like the Christmas Eve Party Bucket – it comes with fried chicken and wine.

Do you have any odd traditions for Christmas that your family has passed down through the years? I think the most unusual for our family is the annual watching of Die Hard. “Ho, Ho, Ho…now I have a machine gun.” C’mon? What’s more Christmasy than that?

Traditions are great. They can keep us in touch with our history and even connect us with what is unique about our family or community. Traditions, however, can become troublesome if we allow them to take precedence over the more important issues of life. That’s what we’ll be considering this Sunday as we read Matthew 15:1-20 in our study of Matthew.

The passage starts out with a controversy over hand washing. This wasn’t about hygiene – it was about this:

V6, 8, 17-20 sum up Jesus’ response to the Pharisees. How would you word what it is that Jesus is trying to communicate about religious traditions and rules?

What does Jesus point to as being the most important issue when it comes to our relationship with God and how we live our lives in this world (v19)?

It’s not addressed in this passage per se, but how do we go about seeing a change take place in our hearts if righteousness doesn’t come from the outside in?

I hope this proves to be an encouraging foray into the Gospel of grace. See you on Sunday!

2 comments

  1. It seems to me, rules and traditions are mostly a means to an end. In this case, I think about going to the gym (not that I have lately). The purpose should be to maintain your core health. When steroids and ultra extreme workout routines become someone’s tradition, they have missed the point. They may look outwardly the specimen of ultra health but from a core health perspective, they are damaging themselves. In the end, their outcome is vain. It has helped neither themselves or those they love.

  2. Love the gym analogy Mike! Right on!
    How do we go about seeing a change take place in our hearts if righteousness doesn’t come from the outside in? That’s a great question…Corinthians says Jesus is the only truly righteous one and because He became sin for us we become the righteousness of God through his blood alone…Nothing we can do outwardly, as we see so clearly in the religious folks back then and if we’re honest, in our own willful stubbornness now, can change the thoughts or intents of our heart. Abiding in Jesus alone and heeding his spirits’ leading within is the only hope we have of transforming our hearts..It’s a lifelong process that begins when we invite him into our lives. Humbly depending on Him will lead us away from our tendency towards self-righteousness and towards the real righteousness we all desire…

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