June 21, 2022
Jesus changes us from the inside out. The indication is not "just" how clean from this world we become. If we are not allowing the Spirit of the living God to influence our heart toward Him and His eternal purposes in this world, our heart is far from His heart.
"[T]his people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me . . . ."
1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, 1 7:3 Greek unless they wash the hands with a fist, probably indicating a kind of ceremonial washing holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. 2 7:4 Greek unless they baptize; some manuscripts unless they purify themselves And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches. 3 7:4 Some manuscripts omit and dining couches ) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) 4 7:11 Or an offering — 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 5 7:15 Some manuscripts add verse 16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” 6 7:19 Greek goes out into the latrine (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 7 7:24 Some manuscripts omit and Sidon And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus 8 7:36 Greek he charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Some religious leaders, a Gentile woman, and a deaf man walk in to a bar . . . just kidding, but I do want to point out how the three encounters with Jesus we see in Mark 7 are really pointing to what we truly believe about God, His Word, and His eternal purposes. Mark 7 teaches us that there is a huge gap between honoring God with our lips and worshiping Him with our hearts.
In Mark 7:1-13, the religious leaders encounter Jesus, but they do not come testing the Scriptures to verify if He is their promised Messiah, nor to learn from Him. They certainly do not come to worship Him. Self-righteousness only seeks to express how others do not measure up. It robs the heart of the desire to love Jesus. Worship is an attitude of the heart that pours out what you truly believe. The heart attitude of this group comes with reasons not to worship Jesus; and He responds with Scripture from Isaiah, "[T]his people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me . . . ."
Like the Jewish leaders, the Gentile woman came looking for Jesus. She knew she was face to face with THE Messiah. She came worshiping (see also Matthew 15:22-28), and it was not the position of her body or her words that defined her worship; it was the attitude of her heart. She understood that He is God, and she was not. Her recorded response to Him, "O Lord, Son of David!" (Matthew 15:22) indicates she understood something of the promised Messiah. She came expectant and hopeful, knowing Jesus had the power to meet her need.
Lastly, when the deaf man encountered Jesus, he couldn't help but zealously proclaim Christ. The Gentile woman knew she desperately needed what Jesus had to offer, and the deaf man knew that everyone needed to know Jesus. Their response is worship!
1. Some of the religious leaders were blind to the Scriptures and their own sense of moral superiority. Self-righteousness is not just arrogance about one's own morality or ability to do things right. It is also such a high view of self that response to sinful attitudes and behaviors can be reduced to "little" or "minor." Reflecting on this truth, do you have an attitude that some of your sinful ways are minor or little?
2. Jesus says that out of the heart come sinful thoughts that produce sinful feelings that rationalize sinful attitudes that justify sinful actions. It's a chain reaction. Every manifestation of the heart begins with the way we think about our Creator and Savior. Life, circumstances, irritating people, hurts, and frustrations do not make us respond in sin. They only manifest what is in our hearts. Do you have a heart attitude that regularly seeks the Lord to help you see where you are blind or unwilling to be authentic with yourself, others, and our Creator?
3. Worship is an attitude of the heart that lives for and pours out what you cherish most. Do you go "looking for Jesus" in your daily life, needing to meet with Him through His Word, desiring to know what He has to teach you? Is Sunday the only day you sing to Jesus, serve His body, hear the teaching of His Word, and reflect on your heart toward His eternal purposes in this world? Are you zealously sharing with a lost and hurting world who He is and what He has done?