Mark 7 - Traditions, Defilement and Dogs

Mark 7:5-8 - On the surface, this seems a harsh response to a legitimate questions - Why don't you wash? Of course, the question wasn't likely that legit, considering the source. It was more an accusation - What makes you think you can side step our traditions?

An Jesus' response is not a condemnation of their practices, it's a call to realign their priorities. He didn't condemn their traditions, he simply called for them to be put in proper perspective. They are of men, not of God. Honor what God would honor first, then follow you traditions if it does not contradict God's ways.

This is human nature, to substitute tradition and practice for a heart following God. If we set our heart on following God, we will likely not always follow tradition. But we like things simple, easy to implement. Traditions are like that. We always _____. Fill in the blank. Go to church on Sunday morning, read our Bibles before breakfast, pray for our dinner, give a certain dollar amount to church, etc. As we routinely follow what we've always done, we run the risk of missing what God has called us to at that moment, or perhaps what we might do for God that's greater. Instead of giving that full amount to your fairly well off American church, what if you took some and sponsored a child in a needy country or supported a local soup kitchen. Instead of reading your Bible every morning before breakfast, what if some mornings you took that and your breakfast time to go bring a hot meal to a lonely retiree before work? I wonder if God isn't desiring for us, as He did the Pharisees, to loosen our grip on our traditions a bit so that we might serve him better.

Mark 7:14-23 - In this passage Jesus once and for all (although some don't seem to have gotten it) declared that food cannot defile us. But even more frightening, he declares that what does defile us comes from within. We cannot say the devil made me do it nor it was because my Dad didn't love me. Although those factors are real and have power to influence us, we cannot lay the blame for our guilt at their feet. The scary truth is that the evil comes from within our own hearts. We defile ourselves.

Mark 7:28-29 - What was in this woman's statement that moved Jesus? Humility & faith. Humility in that she understood her place and that, as a Gentile, she had no right to claim anything from the king of the Jews. Jesus effectively called her a dog and she effectively admitted that was what she was and she was willing to accept what a dog gets, the leftovers. Her faith was saying, essentially, "After you've spent yourself on your people, the Jews, just give me whatever is left over. That will be enough."

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Instead of giving that full amount to your fairly well off American church, what if you took some and sponsored a child in a needy country or supported a local soup kitchen. Instead of reading your Bible every morning before breakfast, what if some mornings you took that and your breakfast time to go bring a hot meal to a lonely retiree before work?

Amen, brother.



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