Mark 7

It is worshiping God in vain to rest in the outside of religious exercises when the heart is not right with God. Our first care should be the washing of the heart from wickedness which makes us odious to God, rather than ceremonial washing. Christ never puts any away from Him who fall at His feet in humble faith, and give themselves up to be ruled by Him.

1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

4 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.

5 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?

6 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.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 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.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 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.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

14 ¶ And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

15 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.

16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 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;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

24 ¶ And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

31 ¶ And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Mark 7:1-23 – Breaking the Bonds of Tradition

   The Pharisees laid great stress on ritual. They followed endless rules, both intricate and troublesome, as to ablutions and outward ceremonials. So long as their devotees were careful in the minor observances, they were permitted a wide license so far as the weightier matters of the Law were concerned. This is a natural tendency of the human heart. It is glad to be able to reduce its religious life to an outward and literal obedience, if only its thoughts may be unhampered. In the life of true holiness everything depends on the control of the thoughts. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). With infinite wisdom the wise man said (Proverbs 4:23), “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”, and Jesus put “evil thoughts” first in the black category of the contents of the evil heart (Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21). A gang of thieves sometimes put a very small boy through a tiny window that he may unlock the front door. So one evil thought will often admit an entire crew of evil. Heart of mine, hast thou learned this lesson? Art thou careful enough of thy cleanliness? That the hands should be often washed, that vessels of household use should be kept cleansed, that there should be decorum and neatness in the outward life, all these customs are good. But it becomes thee to inquire whether thou art not more eager for the outward than the inward cleanliness. “Create in me a clean heart,” should be thy constant prayer (Psalm 51:10). —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 7:19

   There is need that we should remember two or three things in respect to food.
   (1) That food should be received with thanksgiving.
   (2) Take care to eat for the need of the body rather than for its pleasure.—There are a great many dainties and luxuries heaped on our tables which we take simply for the pleasure of eating. It is here that we are assailed with temptation, and need to be on our guard. The fact of food being pleasant eating is not in itself sufficient to justify our taking it. It may clog our digestion, and impair our power for thought and prayer and service.
   (3) Be moderate in the amount you eat.—Quite as many over-eat as over-drink. We should always have the girded loin. The majority of the diseases of modern life have been traced to the habit of eating to excess. We are told by eminent authorities that we ought not to rise from the table with the sense of having eaten to the full. Let your moderation in this also be known to all men. —Our Daily Homily

Mark 7:24-37 – A Mother’s Faith Rewarded

   Before faith can be fully exercised we must take the right attitude toward Christ. His mission at that time was to the Jewish people; they were the children. This woman had no claim as a child, and the question was whether she was prepared to take the lower place. It is the humble soul that has power with God, and when she showed herself prepared to put Jesus in His place as Lord, and to take her own place as willing to accept the children’s crumbs, the Lord was able to put the key of His treasure house into her hand and bid her have her desire. Faith can wring blessing from an apparent negative, and use what might seem to be a rebuff to open God’s treasuries.
   In the following miracle, notice that upward look, that sigh, and that touch. These are the conditions of all successful religious work, and it is a great encouragement to faith that our Lord Himself knew what it was by a look to draw down the mighty power of God. That upward look may be ours when it is impossible to kneel for prolonged prayer. When we stand in the light of eternity, we also shall say, as our Lord’s contemporaries did, “He hath done all things well.” —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 7:34 – Too often we sigh and look within: Jesus sighed and looked without. We sigh, and look down; Jesus sighed, and looked up. We sigh, and look to earth; Jesus sighed, and looked to heaven. We sigh, and look to man; Jesus sighed, and looked to God! (Stork)