This all started when the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law saw Jesus’ disciples eating in the market place with unceremoniously cleaned hands. They came to Jesus demanding to know why they weren’t following tradition. Jesus then quoted Isaiah 29:13 to them, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” So in this verse above Jesus is calling their traditions what they really were – useless commands of man…all the while abandoning the authoritative Commandments of God. In other words, they were worshiping rules and regulations made up by men, not worshiping their Creator.
The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had watched the disciples of Jesus eating without first washing their hands…a real defilement of tradition in their eyes! So they confronted Jesus in what they believed to be a breaking of the Law. To answer them, Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” For anytime the Good News of the Gospel is pushed aside for man-made rules, our focus changes from Jesus to religion. But remember, religion in and of itself will never save us. Nor will man-made traditions and teachings ever get us to heaven. It’s only by the blood of Jesus that we are saved…not any rule.