Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Food For Thought:
The line that stands out to me in this passage of Scripture is the quote from the book of Isaiah, which says, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Think about ways that you have honored God with your lips, but your heart has been far from God. Think about what keeps you from God—what is it that prevents you from being closest to God. What could you do to get closer to God?
God, whose love streams like fresh water into the deserts of our hearts, you turn us from greed and partiality to healing and justice. Make us companions of those who long for your deliverance, and give us safe passage at the last into the land of your shalom. Amen.