In Today's Scripture Reading:
Apostles sent out; John the Baptist beheaded; 5,000 fed; Jesus walks on water; rebuke of the Pharisees; faith of a Syrophoenician woman
The Pharisees insisted the Law be observed as the scribes interpreted it; they believed in the Old Testament Scriptures, but they followed the tradition of the elders more than the Scriptures (Mark 7:3). They believed that Jesus' disciples were defiled because they did not ceremonially wash before eating as prescribed by former scribes in the tradition of the elders. It should have been a wake-up call to hear Jesus say: Well hath Esaias (Isaiah) prophesied of you hypocrites . . . This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. . . . teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. . . . Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition (7:6-7,13).
Later, Jesus explained to His disciples: Whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him. . . . For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness (sensuality), an evil eye, blasphemy (slander), pride, foolishness: All these evil things . . . defile the man (7:18-23).
Satan often suggests evil thoughts, but they only become sin when we accept them and dwell upon them. We are deceived if we assume there is no harm in dwelling upon sinful thoughts as long as they are never verbalized or physically carried out. The Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write: The carnal (worldly) mind is enmity (hostile) against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God (Romans 8:7).
Christians have the responsibility, and the ability, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to be overcomers of sinful thoughts: Casting down imaginations, and every high (proud) thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). A commitment to read through the Word of God with a desire to please the Lord will produce inward changes in conduct and attitudes that will affect all that we say and do. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
6:25 charger =b> a large dish ; 7:19 purging all meats =b> declaring all food ceremonially clean.
For Mark 7:6-7: See Isaiah 29:13. Mark 7:10: See Exodus 20:12; 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Charles & Josephine Van Boskirk • Government Official: Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) • Country: Mali (10 million) in West Africa • Major languages: French and Bambara • Religious freedom despite Muslim majority • 81% Muslim; 17% animism and spirit worship; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to be merciful and to forgive your sins (Psalm 25:6-7).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:7