This week's devotional is coming to you early. As you are reading it, I will be on a hunting trip camping in a cedar swamp and far from my computer not to mention any source of heat.
Since Mark 3:6, the Pharisees have been plotting Jesus' death. When they come to hear Jesus, it is only to find fault with his actions and words so they can accuse him before the people.
Last week we read how the Pharisees observed Jesus' disciples eating without washing their hands. This was, according to their traditions, (not The Law of Moses), a sin that defiled them before God. When they publicly accuse Jesus of allowing this "grave transgression", He rebukes them before all the people citing Scripture against their traditions and calling them hypocrites. Jesus then uses the example of "corban" to show how they have set aside one of the ten commandments to follow their traditions.
Jesus rebuke was so obviously valid that the Pharisees were unable to respond or defend themselves. Having reduced them to silence, Jesus addresses the crowds who have been standing by watching and listening.
Our text today begins in Mark 7:14 and ends with verse 23. As is our custom, read the passages through several times until you grasp the situation......................
Now, I suggest you take some time to pray and reflect on the Scriptures you have just read...................
One of the important rules of exegesis is to try always to understand a passage the way the original hearers would understand it. Jesus is saying these words to Jews. They have been taught from infancy to always observe the dietary ordinances of The Law of Moses. Under these laws certain foods were considered "unclean" and to touch or eat these foods would defile them. To those people Jesus words sound like heresy, but as was his manner, he offered this teaching without explanation. (Matthew 13:10-16)
As time passed, the Gospels show that the Apostles became increasingly dull in their understanding of Jesus' person and purpose. In Mark, this process is first mentioned in Chapter 6:52. Here again we see Jesus upbraiding them for their inability to grasp the meaning of a simple parable.
This dullness is not unique to the Apostles. It is a part of our fallen nature that we are dull to the things of God. Even as Christians, we sometimes experience this condition but Christian Fellowship proves to be a cure as we "Speak the truth in Love", (Eph 4:11-15).
Here we see the amazing implications of Jesus' parable, and perhaps we can excuse some of the dullness of the Apostles. Mark, in his parenthetical statement shows us that with these words Jesus is retiring the food ordinances of The Law of Moses! This truth was so revolutionary that Peter didn't grasp it till Chapter 10 of the book of Acts.
Only Jesus had authority to transcend The Law of Moses for he is God incarnate, and by His blood he purchased the grace that forgave sins both under The Law, and in Christ, for by the blood of bulls and goats no man is justified. (Heb10:1-4)
In recent years the notion that we are innocent victims of an evil world, has become popular. It says that we are not responsible for the evil we do and therefore are not guilty. This false notion is exposed for the lie it is by these words of Jesus. Sin has it's source inside our hearts and we are guilty when we do wrong. The only solution for sin is Jesus Christ, neither obedience to The Law of Moses nor good works can bridge the gap that our personal sin has created.
In closing today please read 1John1:5-9, and take time to confess your sins in prayer to God.