Tuesday, June 18

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. 2 They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.) 5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?”

6 He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.

7 They worship me in vain,
teaching as doctrines human commands.

8 Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.” 9 He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition! 10 For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. 11 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

14 Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

17 When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean). 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Mark 7:1-23

Summary: 

Human beings love to label one another based on behavior. We love to play “us vs. them.” This is really true when it comes to comparing ourselves in our religious and moral performance. Yet Jesus had a different standard. What makes us evil is what’s inside, not what comes out. We’re not declared unrighteous because we don’t perform the ceremonies that the Pharisees demanded of people in their day. We’re not made right with God by church attendance or any other action. Only Jesus can cleanse our hearts and declare us clean.

Reflection:

How do I tend to define myself and others outwardly rather than what’s in my heart?

Prayer:

Father, thank You that You cleanse me! Purify my heart today.


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Ben ShounComment