Archive for June 19th, 2017

Mark 7

Mark 7 has Jesus dealing with the Pharisees and Scribes about their traditions.  They observed the disciples not following some of the things they had long held as sacred, and they ask Jesus why He allows them to do that.  “Why do your disciples not walk according to  the tradition of  the elders”.  This became a big deal for them, and they want Jesus to explain why or put a stop to it.  They open the discussion and Jesus is very clear that in fact, they are the problem.  “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men”.

Jesus calls out a big priority issue with the religious leaders.  Over the centuries prior, they have taken God’s truth and created all sorts of things that were held as sacred that were not really things God had defined or said at all.  They had made those laws equivalent to God’s laws and projected those on everyone. Many of these man made laws were actions and tasks that had nothing to do with God at all. Jesus not only rebukes them for that, but makes it clear that it isn’t the things outside of us that makes us sinners.  It is what comes from within. Jesus tells them “the things that come out of a person are what defile him”.  It is the condition of the heart that God cares about.  Not the nit picky human laws that were too numerous to count.

Just to make sure they didn’t miss it, Jesus gets very specific.  “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,  murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person”.  That’s quite a list of things that Jesus makes clear are truly sin because they are choices made in the heart to disobey God’s true law.  And the difference between these sins, and those against manmade laws is day and night.  When we fall short of God’s law, we face eternity without Him.  God alone has the power to judge and declare us guilty.  We will all stand before Him someday and face those words.

That’s really the whole reality of sin.  It doesn’t really matter what we think about sin.  We don’t get to set the standards.  Nor did the religious leaders 2000 years ago during Jesus’ time.  He makes that clear – that they could try and set the standard for sin as much as they wanted – but God has already set that in stone.  It is His standard we’ll face.  And unfortunately we’ll all come up short.  Unfortunately, when we stand before Him on Judgment Day we’ll be condemned.  That is, unless we receive the provision God has made for our sin through Jesus death, burial and resurrection.  That is our only hope for eternity with God.

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