Here we see another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees. Because Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands in the ceremonial way prescribed by Jewish tradition, the Pharisees criticized them and Jesus as well for letting his disciples get away with such a “travesty.”
But Jesus tears into the Pharisees because they put their own traditions over God’s law. He then gave them an example of this. The Pharisees taught that a person could say to his needy parents, “I’ve devoted this money to God, so I can’t help you out financially.” But they taught this at the expense of breaking God’s law concerning honoring your parents.
He then applied Isaiah’s words to them when he said,
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. (Matthew 15:8-9)
When Jesus’s disciples noted that his words offended the Pharisees, Jesus replied,
Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:13-14)
What can we get from all of this? Be very careful about who you listen to. A lot of people sound good when they speak. They may sound very authoritative, and speak with great power. But if what they’re teaching contradicts God’s word, eventually their ministry will be exposed for what it truly is, and it will be pulled out. If not in this world, then come judgment day when God will burn all works whose foundation is faulty. If they are Christians, they themselves will be saved, but all that they “accomplished” will be burned. (I Corinthians 3:10-15).
So test everything you hear. From your pastor. From any Christian book that you read. From any speaker you hear on a podcast or on the radio. If what they are teaching is consistent with God’s word, listen and obey. If it isn’t, don’t. And if they consistently teach things contrary to the Word of God, walk away from them completely. Because if you don’t, you’ll walk straight into the pit they’re headed for.