Notes Mark 7 A
We left off last week having seen the disciples go through a test of what they believed and I do not think they faired very well. Remember we discussed the fact they had seen Jesus calm the storms. They had just returned from a missionary trip and they had seen how they had power over demons in the name of Jesus. Remember the scriptures said that the “Name of Jesus was magnified” on their journey.
You were asked last week what were some of the things the disciples may have taught on their trip and I believe one must have been that there is power in the name of Jesus. Yet when Jesus sets them in the midst of a familiar situation one they were used to handling on their own; having been fishermen they forget; for hour upon hour they struggle in their own strength; Jesus setting upon the hill; praying for them.
“Father, remind them of the power in my name. Father, remind them that I am the bread of life, all that they need.”
All this is capped of in: Verse 51 and 52
And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Verse 52 says that they did not consider the miracle of the loves for their heart was hardened. I looked up the word hardened in the Strongs and do you know what one of the definitions was “render stupid” or to be callous or blind or hard.
It seems a little odd that the scriptures end this miracle of the storm on the sea by taking us back to the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Remember I told you this is the only miracle that is recorded in all 4 gospels. The people were not starving, Jesus did not have to feed them but He did. So what are the scriptures trying to say?
The feeding of the multitude was a sign that Jesus is all we need to sustain life. HE IS THE BREAD OF LIFE!
If God be for us who can be against us?
The Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I fear?
Yet when trials come we, like the disciples, forget, our hearts are hard to the fact that He is all we need to overcome the storm.
Verse 51 says “They were sore amazed…beyond measure…Matthew says…they proclaimed “thou art the Son of God”.
But as I said the scriptures go on to tell us their hearts were hardened.
It is not enough just to be amazed at the strength of the Lord. It is not enough to be dazzled beyond measure; it is not enough just to recognize Him as the Son of God! YOU MUST APPLY THESE FACTS TO YOUR LIFE AND TO YOUR SITUATION!
When a trail comes do we wrestle with it in our own strength or do we apply what we know. The disciples as a whole failed the test. They acted in their own strength; will you?
And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Here we see the fame of Jesus and the miracle of the woman who had been healed with the issue of blood had spread through the land. Yet we also see something of human nature and that is the tendency of people trying to duplicate the process that lead to a miracle instead of just looking at Jesus.
We see this today, if someone is healed by hopping on one foot and singing “I’ll Fly Away” you will see people across the nation trying to duplicate the process instead of just coming to Jesus. However by the grace of our Lord they were healed.
This scene is a beautiful picture of the fulfillment of Isaiah 35:5-6
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
At the opening of chapter 7 we see the tromping in of the delegation of Pharisees and scribes and they came for the sole purpose of finding fault in the ministry of Jesus. This delegation came all the way from Jerusalem which as far as I can tell was at least 49-50 miles.
As we seen at the closing of chapter 6 the fame of Jesus was spread abroad. The Pharisees had been successful at running Jesus out of Jerusalem but it did not hinder the popularity of Jesus. We seen a couple of chapters ago how the name of Jesus had been magnified to the point that it drew the attention of Herod the King and all those in power were nervous.
Now this delegation was not a company of fools they knew how to touch the heart of the masses. They also knew the power of traditions. They knew that if they could find some challenge Jesus gave to popularly accepted traditions, they could turn the crowd against him. It is the same way today, if you want to split a church or a Bible Study group just allow the subject of strongly held traditions come up and you are going to loss someone. People have what Tom and I call “sacred cows” or strongly held traditions and if you speak against these traditions they are ready to string you up and this is just want the Pharisees were after.
Now traditions are not any less strong today and I also want to add that not all traditions are bad in fact in this passage we will see some of the good points about traditions as well as the bad.
Now before we get into reading these verse I want to take a brief look at why Jesus seems to be so harsh towards these men.
First let’s look back at how Jesus has handled others he has come in contact with along the way.
1. In Mark 2:14 we see Jesus runs across Levi who was a publican which was nothing more than a legal extortionist and he calls him to come and follow him.
2. Also in chapter 2 we see Jesus eating with the publicans and sinners and he tells the Pharisees who question him about it that those who are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
3. In Mark 5 he comes to the man with a legion of demons and we do not see Jesus bewail him but he casts out the demons and sends him back saying Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
So why so harsh with this delegation; probably it is because Jesus has come to seek and save that which is lost and if a person is replacing traditions of men for a heart for God the only way to redeem them is to show them their fault.
Paul puts it this way.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
We cannot offer works of the flesh as a substitute for a relationship with God.
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
Now the subject they picked would have been a hot bed of controversy because it had to do with ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness. When God brought Israel up out of Egypt He gave them rules concerning cleansing. Some of these rules were for basic hygiene needed for a multitude to cross a hot dessert while others were pointed to the need of cleansing from sin.
Edersheim, in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah describes the ritual.
Water stored in jars was always available for use before every meal. The minimum of water was enough to fill one and a half eggshells The water was first poured on both hands, which were lifted so the water ran to the wrist and did not run down to the fingers to make them again unclean. If the water did not reach the wrist, the hands were not clean. The second step was to repeat the process with the hands held down. Thirdly, one hand washed the other. To neglect this ritual was to be guilty of Gross defilement. It was believed to at least cause poverty. A really strict Jew would not only wash his hands this way before every meal but also before each course.
And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
Some Jews also held to the superstition that evil spirit could be transferred by touching something defiled and then eating with unwashed hands. While others believe that an evil spirit called Shibta sat upon the hands at night and he must be washed off or he might be eaten.
At any rate it was a STONGLY held tradition and to the Jews the tradition of the elders was their religion and if these traditions became obsolete or of minor importance what would be left to uphold their position and authority in the community?
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Jesus does not waist any time getting to the heart of the problem. Jesus quotes a verse from Isaiah 29:13
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
First I want you to see that Jesus is talking about the heart. It is not that all traditions are bad but if they do not come from the heart they are hypocracy.
Now I am going to try to tread very lightly hear and talk about traditions. It is not my aim to offend anyone but we need to get to the heart of the matter.
1.The effect of observing strict traditions is HYPOCRACY! Jesus say; You hypocrites.
a.When you go to church because that is what you have done all your life and it is just a tradition you are being a hypocrite.
The Lord desires our heart not our performance.
When the Lord told Samuel to go to Saul and tell him that the Kingdom was to be taken away from him and given to another, it says, the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart and he found him in David, so I am going to use David as an example for good.
It was not just a tradition when David enter the house of the Lord;
At one time David was in excile and could not go to the temple and he writes.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Then when he is able to come to the temple of the Lord he writes.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
b.When reciting a rote prayer learned in childhood is your prayer time you are being a hypocrite. Now there is nothing wrong with teaching your children prayers or praying particular prayers but if you heart is not it that is where the fault comes.
Listen to the passion of David as he prays. David acknowledges who God is.
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
David encourages himself because of who God is.
Psalms 42 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
Let your prayer time be a time of fellowship with God, for He desires to walk with you and talk with you and call you His own.
Now we are going to see that Jesus mentions three types of hypocrisy and He uses the words of Isaiah to make His case.
“ This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”
This is the first type of hypocrite that Jesus mentions.
People who say the right words but they do not have the right heart.
People who say they love, but they don't act in love. If you say you love the church but do not give to churches in parts of the world that are struggling you do not really love the church as a whole. They talk about forgiveness, but they don't forgive. When you continue to play the same offence over and over in your mind you have not forgiven. When you tell others of how you were offended you have not forgive. They talk about acceptance, but they don't accept. When you judge those who do not know the Lord or may be weak in the Lord you do not accept them for where they are in their walk. Why should we be surprised when the unsaved act like they are unsaved? We do not condone what they do but if we shun them how are they to be saved.
The most dangerous aspect of this type of thinking and holding to traditions is the self-righteousness of Christians –
I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t go with boys who do.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The Second hypocrisy:
Jesus tells us there is a second form of hypocrisy. It is, In vain do they worship me,
One way this is seen is in vain repetition of traditions. When we come in and sing 3 fast songs 2 slow, shake hands and mingle take the offering have a 20 minute sermon a closing prayer and say well we have gone to church and worshipped the Lord when half the time our mind was on the activities of the day or the past week or the coming week
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Reasonable means rational or logical.
Service means worship or Devine service.
This passage contains all the elements of true worship. First, there is the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: His love, grace, peace, joy, hope, patience, His Spirit just to name a few. The knowledge of these gifts moves us to pour forth praise and thinksgiving….WORSHIP.
Next we are told
That ye present your bodies a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our human faculties,—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes—are to be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar.
Holy----consecrated set apart.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Third hypocrisy:
teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.
We see this more in the full gospel realm more than any other denomination
Paul deals with this in the book of Colossians 2:21-23. Paul calls it will worship.
Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
These doctrines of men consist of lists of do’s and don’t . Some are lists of what day we are to set aside for the Lord. Others involve diet while still others involve outward appearance. But as Paul plainly puts it they “perish with the using”… they have no value.
Do you want to see a beautiful picture of Christianity turn to Romans 12:9-21
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
You will find that those who have a zeal for traditions have little zeal for the true things of God.
Now Jesus is going to dig deeper! Verses 10-13
For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
This is where tradition begins -- by leaving the command of God and, the second step, holding fast the tradition men, the substitute. And the substitute is always something "good." We would never think of offering God something bad! But it is not what he wants.
Jesus gives them an example of how they practiced this in the tradition they called Corban.
God told them to honor their father and mother. Now this is more than being polite it is as we mature we need to care for our parents who cared for us. But these Pharisees had found a way of getting around this. They would set money aside and say it was dictated to the work of the Lord and then because they were as Spiritual leaders responsible for the work of the Lord they could spend the money as they pleased.
Sounds like many ministries today who are responsible for the work of the Lord and they neglect the intended use of the money given to them and spend it on themselves.
Really if you want to look deeper it is any time we neglect our responsibilities and say it is because we have dedicated our time or money or resources to the Lord therefore we are no longer responsible.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
It is not what we put in that defiles but what comes out. It is what comes out of the Spirit of man that defiles.
And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
It is not what we eat, what we drink or what we put on that defiles us….it is what comes out of our heart or our spirit that defiles a man.
Finally in closing I want to say this whole lesson can be summed up in:
When we begin to substitute What God Wants for What We Want To Give we are in trouble.
God will not accept our substitutes and we begin the slippery slope of rejection.
In closing I want to end with the first time this is seen in the Bible.
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
From the time God killed the animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, their sin…Adam and Eve understood that it took a blood sacrifice to cover sin.
Able brought the acceptable sacrifice but Cain brought the fruit of his own labor
When we try to substitute our own works to please God…it will not be accepted. Then when our sacrifice is rejected…WE feel rejected of God…WE feel like God does not care….it is in this state of mind that the door of our heart is wide open for sin to enter in.
It is not about what we do…It is about what Jesus did.
It is not about the washing of hands…what we eat or what we put on…It is about accepting what God did through Christ Jesus.
He is our acceptable sacrifice…move IN Him and He will move in you.