Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When 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.)

So the Pharisees and the 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 ‘unclean’ hands?”

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. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.” 

“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexually immortality, theif, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “

A Thought

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” ?  In my generation it was taught as if it was in the Bible, but it is not found in the scriptures. This is basically the same kind of teachings that Jesus was trying to explain to the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law about being unclean. There are many things that we teach our children that we place too much importance on and not enough teaching on how to guard our hearts from evil. We must be aware of the things we permit to enter our heart, whether the things we think on, the things we watch, or the things we listen to. The unclean things can all lead us on the ways of sin and uncleanliness or the right commands of God will lead us on the right path with Jesus.

Our Prayer

Father the way of the world is trying to steal our children. We must train ourselves and the next generation your commands so we will not permit any evil to enter our hearts. Forgive us because we have accepted the cleanliness of the outside of our bodies to be more important than the obedience of your commands that will keep our hearts pure and clean. Awaken us by the power of your Spirit to obey your commands that we might worship you in Spirit and Truth. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.