Mark 7:1-23

This passage is unique, in that it’s the only record in the New Testament, explaining why Jews do what they do in their oral traditions from the law of Moses. It is one of the reasons most Christians believe the gospel of Mark was written to a non-Jewish audience, maybe even Rome itself.  “Unclean hands” are not dirty hands, they are hands which have not gone through “ritual washing”. Here are passages instructing hand washing for Priests (Ex. 30:19, 21, 40:31) For anyone with bodily fluids issued (Lev. 15:11), for anyone touching corpses (Dt. 21:6). None of these verses reference meal preparation! They weren’t interested in hygiene, it was about making your hands spiritually clean to receive God’s blessings or to do God’s work. The same thought is connected with lifting “holy” hands in prayer, 1st Tim. 2:8, yet there was no washing for Peter and Christians, because our whole life is made acceptable, that is holy by the blood of Christ. But if we don’t live a life worthy (sin) of this good news of holiness by His blood, then we make ourselves unacceptable by our sinfulness, not by the fact that we do not wash our hands. What do Christian wash to become acceptable to God? See 1st Peter 3:20-21.

In the eyes of the Pharisees, “The tradition of the elders” was sort of a test case for whether or not Jesus and his disciples respected the Law of Moses. The Pharisees assumed that the best way to obey the Law of Moses and respect God was to “hold fast to many traditions”. But Jesus wanted to show them that to obey the Law should be about doing what it says, regardless of the fathers’ traditions. Even in the most simple commandment of honoring your parents, Ex. 20:12 & Dt. 5:16, a child could exempt themselves by gifting money to God in the Temple, and that money would replace their obligation to help (honor) their parents. In God’s eyes, Jesus saw this as having “no regard for the command of God”, v8. But Jews regarded Jesus and his disciples as “defiled” because what they ate was eaten with hands not washed.  When Jesus stated that “what comes out of a person is what defiles him” v15, what was he talking about?

Do we as the church have any traditions which would excuse us from doing what Christ actually says we should do? Think about it, pray about it, and watch out for any traditions/practices that we may be doing that would actually be replacing what Christ tells us to do.

This list of sins in Mark 7:21-22 provides nothing unexpected (we see similar lists in Romans 1:29-31; Galatians 5:19-21, and 2 Timothy 3:2-5), it adds another layer of meaning to Jesus’ message. Each of these particular vices is, in some way, a sin of consumption. Adultery, theft, avarice, envy, pride — each of these springs from a desire to take, to grasp, to own, to devour. The corruption of the human heart is rooted in our desire to bare our fangs into other things, other than the enemy! This is why Jesus does not reject purity laws here. It turns out that our consumption (or lack thereof) does affect our hearts. If our desire for self-satisfaction is allowed to run rampant, we become insatiable consumers: of things, of course, but also of pleasure, of people, even of our own energy. (How good do you actually feel after spending a day binge-watching something on Netflix?) Bare your fangs into what is wrong (the enemies), and kill it! If you’ve got the desire to attack anything, attack sin. “All these evils come from within and defile a person”, v23

Mark 6:30-56

Feeding 5000+

The only miracle during the ministry of Christ that all four gospel writers record. Mark wants us to know about the difference between the 5000 & 4000 group in Mk. 8. The 5000+ group was predominantly a Jewish crowd, because both accounts feeding 5000 use the word “kophinos” for baskets, Mt. 14:20 & Mk. 6:43. The second event of 4000 men, recorded in Mt. 15 & Mk. 8 is predominantly a Gentile crowd, because both accounts feeding 4000 use the word “spuris” for baskets, Mt. 15:37 & Mk. 8:8. Which may explain why the disciples don’t seem to expect Jesus to feed them, even after they saw him feed the Jewish crowd beforehand. Notice in the first event the disciples come to Jesus asking about food for the crowd, but in the second event, it is the other way around. Jesus asks the disciples about feeding the crowd. Notice, regardless of what kind of people are in the crowds, in each case, Jesus performs the miracle, but the disciples are commanded to distribute the miracle. Setting people in segregated groups of 50 – 100 (Luke 9:14, Mark 6:39-40) Is there a lesson for the church to learn from this in the distribution of God’s word? His word is certainly produced miraculously and abundantly, but how do we distribute it? Paul taught in 2nd Corinthians 9:8-12, “Besides, God is able to make every blessing of yours overflow for you, so that in every situation you will always have all you need for any good work. As it is written, “He scatters everywhere and gives to the poor; his righteousness lasts forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the farmer and bread to eat will also supply you with seed and multiply it and enlarge the harvest that results from your righteousness. In every way you will become even more generous, and this will cause others to give thanks to God because of us, because this ministry you render is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, it is also overflowing with more and more prayers of thanksgiving to God. Herein may be the point of these miracles in the Bible, that is: God’s generosity towards us through His word, is what promotes praise & thanksgiving so that others in the world will get fed. More people will get fed, than you can dream of, if you will feed them with whatever amount of God’s word you have to give them!

Walking on Water

Where were the eyes of Peter’s heart focused? This was more important than where his feet were or what they were doing, Ephesians 1:17-18. The point of this miracle is to teach us how hard it is to walk spiritually with God, when storms hit us. The New Testament is used by God to teach us to keep walking and when the storms of life get fierce, we must STAND, Ephesians 6:10-18. But for most of our life as a Christian, we are to walk in the newness of life, Romans 6:4, remembering that babies in Christ can’t walk, they must feed & grow! Walk by the rule that only a new creation counts for anything, Galatians 6:15-16. Walk in the good works God prepared for you, Ephesians 2:10. Walk in His love & light, Ephesians 5:2-8. Walk in wisdom, Colossians 4:5. Walk with him as a divine guest in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16-25. This is the miracle, which Jesus uses to emphasize the necessity of “walking”.

Healing the Sick

This fact shows there was a general consensus in the practice of Jews clinging to the commandment in Numbers 15:37-41 referencing the borders of garments having blue ribbons or fringes to remember the holy commandments of God in contrast to their own sinful desires of their hearts. Jesus was constantly searching and accomplishing His Father’s will. This was indicative of the holiness of God in a person’s life. Many theologians believe that this may be the only biblical reference to the kind of clothes Jesus wore, except for the mention of his seamless tunic – “chiton”, the soldiers at the cross valued, John 19:23-24.

MARK 6:1-29

Rejection at Nazareth, v1-6, Jesus is projecting himself as a prophet and knows the requirements of a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15-18. He spoke with authority and as if he had a formal education, but he was just known as a carpenter! John 6:42, 7:15. What did he prophesy? The subject matter of his authoritative teaching was based on the Kingdom of God, Mark 1:15. It will come, Mk. 9:1. Why do you believe Jesus was rejected in his own hometown? So far, rejection is seen in every chapter of Mark.

1:14, John the Immersionist arrested, The forerunning prophet of Christ, rejected!

2:7, 16 & 24 The work & actions of Jesus rejected by scribes & pharisees.

3:6 & 22, The Pharisees & Herodians reject him and plot Christ’s death.

4:1-7, Most hearts/soil reject the word of Christ in the parable of the soils.

5:17 & 40 The people of the Decapolis reject Jesus’s power & Mourners laugh at him.

6:1-3, Locals in Nazareth reject him for who Christ is and what he teaches.

The statement about a prophet having honor, but not amongst his own family/friends is not from the Old Testament, it seems to be uniquely stated by Jesus. However, it is a well founded and broadly experienced fact of daily life. Another phrase that echoes the same truth is “familiarity breeds contempt”, which comes from more English usage than Hebrew. How can someone be so thoroughly rejected in so many ways & ultimately crucified, and yet still to this day be recieved?

There are only two recorded incidents of Jesus experiencing amazement, v6. The other incident is recorded in Matthew 8:8-10. What is the subject matter of both incidents?

The Pre-emptive Strikes of The First Disciples, v7-13, 

What can you do, when you’re given power over unclean spirits, one coat, a staff & sandals as well as a heart driven message of repentance with one other partner? You can heal sick people and free people possessed by demons. God loves these people and he was giving his apostles real successful on-the-job training. The Devil’s demons were dismayed! Since Jesus instructs the “dust shaking of feet”, we know he approves of us making people’s rejection of the truth a real task. No Christian should remain silent when we know people understand the truth, and openly reject it. When the truth is perverted and/or openly rejected, we must express the Lord’s disapproval of the sin. The ability to try and love a sinner while hating the sin, is expressed clearly in Jude v22-23. But never should we ever give people the impression that our love for the sinner is in any way approval of their sin. Repentance is for ALL, see Acts 17:30.

The Martyrdom of John the Immersionist, v14-29, What could you do that would make someone hate you more than “half of a kingdom”? John the Immersionist repeatedly pronounced the marriage of Herod and his brother’s wife as not “EXESTI”, legal, v18. This Greek word is translated “not permitted, allowed or legal”, elsewhere in the New Testament, Jn. 5:10, Jn. 18:31, 1st Cor. 6:12 & 10:23, 2nd Cor. 12:4, Ac. 2:29, 8:37, 16:21. So it’s force is to make something possible or impossible. It is not an exclusive legal term, therefore John the immersionist didn’t really care what Herod’s law was or Moses’ law was, but was primarily concerned with what God’s law is. Today, we have the same task of declaring what is right or wrong in the context of marriage. Civil laws may change, but God’s law remains the same. There is only one reason for allowing divorce & re-marriage and that is sexual immorality (PORNIAH) Mat. 19:9. There is only one reason for marriage, a man’s love and a woman’s love can be sanctified in holy matrimony, uniting them in God’s love. This makes polygamy and any kind of sexual union by homosexual’s EXESTI