Highlights In Today's Reading:
Like the disciples, we're all on a mission (6:7-13). Follow Jesus as He feeds the multitudes, walks on water, teaches inner holiness (6:30-7:23; Heb. 12:14). Even the crumbs of faith are rewarded (7:25-30).
The Pharisees were the largest religious group of their day. They proclaimed their belief in all Scripture as the inspired Word of God; but they valued even more the tradition (teaching) of the elders — who were rabbis from the past. These critical Pharisees asked Jesus: Why walk not Thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? (7:5). These self-righteous leaders must have been shocked to hear Jesus quote the Word of God as the highest authority, saying: Well hath Esaias (Isaiah) prophesied of you hypocrites . . . This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me . . . in vain (empty show) do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. . . . laying aside the Commandment of God. . . . Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition (7:6-8,13).
The Pharisees were satisfied with mere external observances. Jesus explained to His disciples: Whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him. . . . That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart . . . proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications . . . wickedness, deceit . . . pride, foolishness (7:18-23).
We deceive ourselves if we believe there is no harm in sinful thoughts so long as they are never verbally or physically carried out. However, even in the Old Testament we read: As he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). We cannot conceal evil thoughts from God (I Cor. 4:5).
Faith for salvation and for our Christian growth depends upon hearing and acting upon the whole Word of God: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). The Holy Spirit imparts His Holy Nature to us at conversion. Then He continues His sanctifying work as we through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body (8:13).
The hypocrite is only concerned and satisfied if his outward conduct and conversation appear religious before others. But the true Christian is content with nothing less than inward godliness, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-4).
Thought for Today:
The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy (Ps. 33:18).
6:25 charger = large dish ; 7:19 purging all meats =declaring all food ceremonially clean.
For Mark 7:6-7: See Is. 29:13. Mark 7:10: See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16.
Pray for Staff: Al Joslyn • Government Official: Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) • Country: Greenland (60,000) northeast of Canada • Major languages: Eskimo dialects and Danish • Religious freedom • 98% Protestant; .1% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray at all times (Ps. 55:17).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:9