William Barclay calls this week’s reading from Mark “the most revolutionary passage in the New Testament.” Up to this point, “Jesus has been arguing with the legal experts about different aspects of the traditional law. He has shown the irrelevance of the elaborate handwashings. He has shown how rigid adherence to the traditional law can actually mean disobedience to the law of God. But here he says something more startling yet. He declares that nothing that goes into a man can possibly defile him, for it is received only into his body which rids itself of it in the normal, physical way.”
This would have been a terribly offensive proposition to first century Jews, who would rather die (literally) than eat swine and other forbidden foods. They believed that these foods would make them ceremonially unclean and unacceptable to God. Jesus was now pronouncing that the Old Testament food and dietary regulations, along with the supplementary regulations and traditions of the Pharisees, meant nothing to a person’s spiritual condition.
This message contained in this week’s passage is pretty simple, but is difficult for many to accept. Why do you think that is?
Verses 21 and 22 provide a list of “evil things” that come from within us. What does that say about the state of our hearts?
You’ve no doubt heard the popular saying, “All people are basically good.” Would Jesus agree with that statement? Why not?
Please pray that God will open doors of opportunity for sharing and hearts for receiving the good news of Jesus Christ with our community at Old Home Day on Saturday.