-The Lord’s teaching on inner purity continues in this seventh chapter of the book. Scribes and Pharisees who had come from Jerusalem noticed that the disciples of Jesus were not following their man made traditions of hand washing and cleansing before they ate their bread. Jesus spoke from the prophet Isaiah to address this issue, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Isaiah 29:13, Mark 7:1-7).” He went on to make a point on the fact that they often set aside the clear commandment of God to hold to their religious traditions. The case He used here was in regards to taking care of parents in an honorary way for Corban (given to God). They invalidated the Word of God with their man made traditions handed down as false worship. Jesus enlightened them that there were many such things like this in Judaism (Mark 7:8-13). He continued with a lesson that He wanted everyone to listen carefully to and understand. Nothing outside the body defiles a person, but the things that proceed out of them is what defiles them. Later, His disciples questioned Him on what appeared to be a new teaching in regards to their faith. Jesus admonished them for lacking understanding in this instance. Things that go into the body go through the stomach are eliminated. Thus, He declared all foods clean in the sight of God as it pertains to salvation and relationship with Him. What He was getting at was the heart. He taught, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these things proceed from within and defile the man (Mark 7:14-23).”
-Jesus’ Kingdom mission headed north and east from there to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He wanted to escape notice, but His popularity and renown followed Him to these distant regions. He entered a house and had a woman, who was a Gentile, entreat Him to heal her daughter of an unclean spirit. She was persistent in her request to the point that it caused Jesus to make what seemed like a rude statement. He was actually prophetically speaking and testing when He commented, “Let the children (Jews) be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” He knew her heart and what her response would be in His discernment. She kept making her case that even the dogs are nourished from the scraps and that she was capable of receiving blessing from the Almighty. Her answer impressed the Messiah, and He healed her daughter. In faith she went back to find her child lying on the bed and cleansed from the tormenting demons (Mark 7:24-30).
-He then came through Sidon, which was further north of Tyre, before coming back over to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of the Decapolis (ten cities). The people there brought Him one who was deaf and had difficulty speaking. They implored Him to lay His Hands on him for healing. Jesus, this time took him aside from the crowd by Himself and put His fingers in the man’s ears. Then after spitting, He touched the deaf man’s tongue with the saliva. Looking up to Heaven, with a deep sigh, He commanded, “Be opened!” The man’s ears were opened, and he could both hear and speak plainly. The Lord told them not to broadcast this event to anyone, but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim His marvelous works. In astonishment they were saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak (Mark 7:31-37).”
-*Application* When the inner man is well, the whole being will be well spiritually speaking. Take care of your heart; it is the well spring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus is the only One that can change our heart. We only need to look to Him to heal the brokenness in our lives. His grace is always enough. Even the crumbs of His goodness provide all we’ll ever need. He does all things well.
Verses to Memorize: Mark 7:21-23, 37