Heavenly Father, once again we come before You on bended knees, to learn, listen, apply, practice, and proclaim. We acknowledged that we are unworthy sinners. We claim the promise of 1John 1:9. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 7: 1-23
VV 1-9. ‘ ’ 1The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands? ” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’’
The Pharisees and some of the Scribes sent a delegate from Jerusalem to Galilee which was 70 miles away. Traveling 70 miles just to tell someone off for not washing hands before a meal was ridiculous. Scribes or teachers of the law were experts in the Old Testament laws. Pharisees were members of the conservative and legalistic Jewish sect who considered oral traditions of the elders as equivalent to Old Testament Laws. Rules for washing hands, pitchers, kettles, and cups, etc were part of the oral traditions. Jesus quoted Isaiah 29: 13, “‘Therefore the Lord said; In as much as these people draw near with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.’’
VV 10-12, ‘’10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
The 5th commandment, Exodus 20:1, is, ‘’Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you”. They used the oral traditions to circumvent this commandment. If they gave money reserved for looking after their parents to God as an offering, they would have no more obligation to support their parents because anything dedicated to God is Corban or consecrated to God. The Pharisees and Scribes did many things like this.
VV 14-23, 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”  17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thought comes—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
To protect them from certain diseases, the kosher law of Leviticus forbade Jews from eating certain animals. The law forbade murder but Jesus said having thoughts of anger or hatred in the heart was a murderous heart. The law had to do with an inward attitude, not an outward action. Food entered the stomach, digested by the body, and eliminated by the intestine. But words spoken by the mouth from the heart cannot be eliminated. Luke 6:45, ‘’A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.’’ What or how you eat does not make you more spiritual than others. What you say and think is more important. 1 Cor 8:8 ‘’But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.’’
Heavenly Father, help us not to operate by tradition and legalism but to operate by love and grace. We pray that You will purify our hearts and forgive us for being short-sighted, in Jesus’ name, Amen.