Mark 7:1-13 - Now when the Pharisees gathered to Him (Jesus), with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of His disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 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?" 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; 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." And He said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' 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)-then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."
Jesus seems pretty ferocious when He answers the Pharisees. It looks as if their nitpicking struck a nerve for Him. Why?
If you look at the chapter before, you can see that Jesus had sent His disciples out to teach and preach and heal, and they had just gotten back from their trips. Jesus wanted to take them away where they could rest for a while, but that plan got ruined when a huge crowd of people found them and needed teaching and miracles. Then nobody got any sleep, because the disciples spent the night rowing across the sea, and Jesus walked across it. And as soon as they got there, another crowd gathered.
At this point, the Pharisees pop up with their complaint about Jesus' disciples not washing their hands. Small wonder if Jesus defended them! They were tired and worn out; they were healing and teaching and preaching the Good News of God's salvation; handwashing was just not on the top of their to-do list. There were things that mattered more.
But Jesus takes this opportunity to try, once again, to get the Pharisees to see what really matters. It's not human traditions. It's following the Word of God. It's showing love to the people God has committed to us, including our own family members. It's following and trusting and loving God Himself—the One who loves us so much that He lay down His own life to save us, by dying on the cross. He is the One who matters—the One who died and rose for us: God, our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Lord God, keep our hearts focused on the One thing that matters—You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Think of the most foolish argument you ever had. What was it about?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to keep your attention on what really matters? Why?
3. How has God shown you that you matter to Him?
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