(Reading for March 1 included because they fixed the bug – Numbers 20-22 Mark 7:1-13)
Numbers 23-25 Mark 7:14-37
“And Jesus said, ‘The things that come out of people are the things that make them unclean. All these evil things begin inside people, in the mind: evil thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, evil actions, lying, doing sinful things, jealousy, speaking evil of others, pride, and foolish living. All these evil things come from inside and make people unclean.’” (Mark 7:20-23 NCV)
You’ve probably seen the signs in the restrooms at restaurants. “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Those signs make sense. If you have any thoughts about those signs, you may wonder why they’re even necessary. With that understanding, it would be easy to see the dispute from yesterday’s reading and today’s and side with the Pharisees. “Jesus, why DON’T Your disciples wash their hands before eating? Only when we understand that the Pharisees weren’t washing their hands for hygienic purposes, but to make a religious statement that they were washing off anything that might have touched sinners does Jesus’s response make sense. The Pharisees question might better be asked as, “Jesus, don’t Your disciples wash away the filth of sinners before they eat?”
Jesus’s response was shocking to these ceremonially clean paragons of virtue. It wasn’t what they put into their mouths that made them unclean. That passes through the body. What came out of their mouths showed their inner being and how unclean they were. That list is exhaustive. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that if we’re being honest with ourselves, we can see at least a couple of areas where Jesus highlights our own sins. And that makes me uncomfortable. And guilty. As it should. It reminds me that I must throw myself on the mercy of God each day and seek His forgiveness. Of course, that isn’t all bad. It should help us grow in our relationship with Christ as we learn to depend on Him for forgiveness and cleansing. Thanks be to God for His grace that continues to provide that!
Lord, I seem to be a pretty good guy until I look at myself against the standards You set. When I do that, I’m reminded that the only way I can have a relationship with You is through Your grace. Thank You for giving me Your grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.