Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard about the disastrous initial public offering of Facebook stock. Just how disastrous remains to be seen. Many of those buying on the first day are claiming to be in it for the long term.
Some critics are suggesting that the company name be changed to “fakebook,” given the perceived fake book value of the company and their own predictions that it will be the next MySpace. Facebook’s offering price established the company’s value far in excess of any of the U.S. automakers, Microsoft or Apple, all of which own tangible assets and have products to sell. On the other side are the institutional buyers and a large number of individual investors, all who invested real money and believed it to be a good investment. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the offering price was set at face value or fake book.
Jesus, in this week’s passage from Mark, was facing a fakebook moment of His own, except that the stakes were eternally greater. The Galilean Pharisees had called in the big boys from the home office – the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, to publicly challenge the teaching and actions of Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes were enforcers of Jewish traditions, many of which caused the people to disobey the commands of God. They had a fake rule book, of sorts, that was from man and not of God. Their playbook led God’s people away from, not closer to Him. That’s a real danger for us as well. We have all kinds of playbooks (traditions) that we have cling to at the expense of our relationship with God. We don’t have to wait and see how things will turn out. Whenever we deviate from the Word of God, there will be adverse effects, usually in our relationship with God and others.
As you meditate on this week’s passage, consider the example Jesus provided as proof that the traditions of the elders were leading people into transgression and away from God (v. 9-13). What was that particular tradition and how did it void the Word of God in the lives of those who followed it?
What traditions or cultural norms do you hold onto that void the Word of God in your own life? Are the traditions we maintain in our church sound and Biblical, or do they lead us away from the heart and will of God? Who, in our church, is responsible for keeping the church accountable to the Word of God?