Read Mark 6 -- 7
In Today's Reading:
Apostles sent out; John the Baptist beheaded; 5,000 fed; Jesus walks on water; rebuke of the Pharisees; faith of a Syrophoenician woman
For many generations, the Law had been interpreted and explained to the Israelites by the scribes. The Pharisees insisted the Law be observed as the scribes interpreted it; they believed in the One True God, as well as the Old Testament Scriptures, but they followed the tradition of the elders more than the Scriptures (Mark 7:3; Matthew 15:2). 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 these self-righteous leaders to hear Jesus say: Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. However in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the Commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men. . . . Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition (7:6-8,13; see Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31).
Later, Jesus explained to His disciples: Whatsoever thing from outside enters into the man, it cannot defile (make unclean) him; Because it enters not into his heart, but into the belly. . . . For from inside, 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 come from inside, and defile the man (Mark 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, neither indeed can be (Romans 8:7).
Christians have the responsibility, and the ability, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to be overcomers of sinful thoughts: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (fleshly), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high (proud) thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:4-5). 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. The true Christian has a genuine desire to please his Lord. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
6:8 scrip = a small bag or purse; 6:20 observed him = watched him; 6:25 by and by = before long or soon; charger = a large dish or platter; 6:33 outwent = went farther than or went ahead of; 7:19 purging all meats = eliminating all foods, thus, He was 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.
BP Staff: Jé French · Pray for Dr. Frank Wright, Honorary President, International Bible Reading Association; President, National Religious Broadcasters · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Government Officials: Rep. Michael Collins (GA), Gov. Carl Gutierrez (GU), Rep. Rush Holt (NJ), and Rep. Jim Leach (IA) · Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula · Major languages: Arabic and Farsi · Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing · 95% Muslim; 4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: If we ask anything agreeing with God's will, He both hears and answers our prayers (I John 5:14-15).
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 9:6