“According to Mark’s gospel, what was main issue dividing Jesus (Yeshua) from the scribes and the Pharisees?”
Yeshua, the man from Nazareth, was constantly butting heads with the Pharisees. They were continually trying to catch him in wrongdoing. Why? Because he challenged them and their traditions, pointed out their sin and inconsistencies in front of their people, and told them things they didn’t want to hear.
The position of the Pharisees in old Hebrew life was felt immensely in the culture at that time. The Pharisees asserted that when God gave the law to Moses at Sinai, he also gave an Oral Law, which was not written down but was instead repeated through generations in order to be kept by all Jews.
(There is no evidence of such an Oral law in Scripture. The Oral Law was, in actuality, made up by the Pharisees as a sort of “fence” in order to keep the Israelites far away from disobeying one of God’s commands.)
To illustrate the effect of the Oral Law in Ancient Jewish life, consider this command from the written Law, as given to Moses …
“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Exodus 23:19, NKJV (emphasis and underlines mine.)
Boiling a goat in its mother’s milk was a tradition practiced by the pagans in their fertility festivals. The fertility festivals were the pagan equivalent of the Hebrew FESTIVAL OF FIRSTFRUITS (To reference the festivals, see Leviticus 23.) Yahweh commanded the Israelites not to do so because He did not want to be worshipped with pagan rituals.
“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.”
Deuteronomy 12:29-31, NKJV
The Oral Law dictates that, not only must we not boil a goat in its mother’s milk, we may not have ANY kind of meat with ANY dairy product during one meal, or mixed in one dish. Now, logically, if you follow this Oral Law to the letter you will avoid breaking God’s law, which only says not to boil a goat in its mother’s milk. But not only is the Oral law not commanded by God, it is a direct violation of a command God gave His people …
“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
Deuteronomy 4:2, NKJV (Emphasis mine)
By creating an Oral Law which was pushed forward as “mandatory”, the Pharisees were actually detracting from the importance of the actual Law of God and making it more difficult to understand and obey. Think of what confusion we have today, (which is the goal of this essay to clear up,) as a result!
The Pharisees forsook the commandments of God for the sake of their own traditions. Yeshua obeyed God’s Law and forsook the traditions of the elders.
Why would we think that Yeshua and the Pharisees could reconcile when, in fact, they stood on opposite sides? See the below verses for an illustration of the Pharisees’ philosophy described, as opposed to Jesus’ philosophy described.
- “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” Mark 7:8, NKJV
- “He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your own tradition?” Mathew 15:3
Both verses illustrate how detrimental it was that the Pharisees kept their own traditions … holding them to be on the same level as God’s Laws.
- “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.” John 14:31, NKJV
Yeshua obeys his Father’s commands, not only because it is right to do so, but because He loves the Father. Oh, and this is how He shows the whole world that he loves the Father!
- “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:11, NKJV
- “Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:16, NKJV
- John 5:19, John 12:49
The main issue dividing Yeshua from the Pharisees was that The Pharisees had strayed from the Law to their traditions. Yeshua believed in His Father’s Law, not LawPlus.
Thanks for reading!