Washing hands before a meal makes sense to me. But the complaint of “defiled” hands had nothing to do with germs; it was about keeping traditions.
Back when the Israelites wandered in the desert after leaving Egypt, God established the priesthood through Aaron, Moses’ brother. The book of Leviticus tells us they were instructed to wash their hands before tending to their duties.
Over time, the priests made this a requirement for everyone. However, this imposed a burden for some, like shepherds tending their flocks. A specific command had morphed into a human tradition that showed favour to the leaders and made some people defiled. That made Jesus angry.
I wonder about when we create rules that suit us, but make difficulties for others. We might prefer a quiet respectful worship, but what about parents of small children? Do they stay home because they’re afraid of criticism if their children don’t behave? I know some who do. How else do we do this?
Spirit of truth, help me to notice my impulse to criticize others. If it's over a human tradition, give me wisdom and open my heart to what pleases you. Amen. — AK