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Mark 7 1 through 30
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Mark 7: 1-30
Verses 1-7: What a lesson God has given us through the Pharisees of how far a man can go astray from the truth of God. Having been given the truth in the beginning, yet never really coming into the understanding of it...only a few in their history would understand. 'But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it' (Matt. 7:14). The Pharisees were supposed to be the representatives to the Jewish people of the kingdom of God...and yet they had been reduced to nothing more than the blind leading the blind. One of their lot (Nicodemus) saw the truth in Jesus and maybe other Pharisees did also, but they were so chained up in their religiosity that they could not escape; they were so chained up in keeping their jobs secure, they refused to consider him being the truth. Let us as people be anything...but let us never be religious.
Don't you love how Jesus immediately gets to the issue of a person's problem? He throws their own scriptures up in their faces that had prophesied what they had become and why. The hypocrites' teachings are but rules taught by men. This is the key of why we become religious. And I'm not talking about anything outside of the realm of Christendom.
Verses 8-12: We become religious because we let go of the word of God and replace it with the tradition of man. And how very very subtly this happens. Notice how naturally politically gifted the religious are. If they were not in religion then they would be in politics. Don't honor your parents by giving them a gift that could otherwise help them, but let us make you feel bad by telling you this should be a gift to God instead (in other words given to them)...resulting ultimately in producing more sons of hell (Matt. 23:15).
Verse 13: Just how important is the word of God? Jesus coming onto the scene in history immediately points to the importance of it. He immediately validates it at the beginning of his ministry when he takes on Satan. He quotes the word of God that existed at the time...the Old Testament. And then throughout the Gospels he is constantly referring to it...and thus constantly validating it. If the word of God does not become our source and authority for what we believe and why we believe then that leaves the word of man to become that. When the word of man becomes our authority then we are in big trouble. When it is the Pharisees and only the Pharisees and Scribes that hold the sacred scrolls, well then, they can con anyone into believing what God has said. This is the beginnings of the Catholic Church that existed even up until modern times with the New Testament.
God has given us his word and then he has preserved it for us. Otherwise Jesus could not have said: 'I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished' (Matt. 5:18). He is talking about that which has been preserved for 1475 years up until the time Jesus started his ministry at the age of 30. If the word of God was not preserved by the Father, Jesus never could have come and said that these old preserved scriptures were written about him. 'He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms"' (Luke 24:44). Those are a lot of scriptures that need to be existing in order for Jesus to be credible when he comes speaking in the future.
Verses 14-23: Never having come into the understanding of why God gave them the law in the first place, the Pharisees along with the Jews of today (Christians can be included in this also) see only a list of rules to be obeyed. Jesus hints here in verses 14-16 at the purpose of the law or the commands of God as it is put forth in the text (verses 8-9)...it is to reveal to the people their problem. Later on in the books of Romans and Galatians, the Apostle Paul expounds on this. Our problem, and it's a big one, because it will keep us out of heaven, is something that we acquire at our physical birth. What we acquire is a sinful nature and if we let the law or the commands of God do its work in our lives, then this will be revealed to us (1 Tim. 1:8-10). Jesus gives us a list here of the type of behavior that is manifested from a sinful nature...as a result of the law working in our lives.
Verses 24-30: Matthew's account of the same woman and of the same situation has Jesus saying, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). Jesus is sent to Israel because he is fulfilling prophecy that he is their Messiah; and because he is God also, salvation would be coming to all peoples after his resurrection. The woman is representative of the salvation that would be coming to the Gentiles. This Gentile woman who for some reason has a lot of insight into who Jesus is...more so than his own disciples. He never told his disciples that they had great faith. He was always referring to them as 'ye of little faith' (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8). She didn't even have to have parables explained, like the disciples did (Mark 4:33-34). She understood immediately what Jesus meant when he said: "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
"It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'" (Matt. 4:4). She understood who he was because she knelt before him when she first approached him. She also knew that his words were life (John 6:63). Even though she could not get all of the bread because it was not to be directed to her initially; she could at least get some of the crumbs which would be enough. For this Jesus rewards her and tells her that she has great faith (Matt. 15:28). Wow! can you imagine being designated by God as one who has great faith? And it was her great faith that gave her great insight.
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