Mark 7

Clean and Unclean: The Hebrew Law from God did have rules about ceremonial washing, but the Pharisees added to those rules, probably just to be sure they didn’t break the real rules accidentally. Insisting on their additional rules while breaking other real rules was hypocrisy in Jesus’ eyes.

Jesus saw their rules about cleaning only the outside of dishes as an apt illustration of their problem: They were concerned only about outward appearance, while inward attitudes of pride, envy and malice were unchanged.

Mark uses this teaching, that what goes into your mouth does not defile you, as one of Jesus’ revelations that all foods are “clean.” – a lesson that Mark’s mentor, Simon Peter, would be thoroughly convinced of much later, when he was sent to bring the gospel to Gentiles (Acts 10).

The Faith of the Foreign Woman: Mark’s account of this  encounter is like Matthew’s. Jesus at first refuses to heal her daughter, yet she perseveres despite his rudeness. Jesus is pleased with her even temper, quick wit and perseverance. Not only is the daughter healed but they become among the first non Jews to be come equal recipients of grace, and outstanding examples of faith.

The Healing Of The Deaf And Mute Man: It’s easy to think that there is some technique that makes healing happen. Here Jesus puts his fingers in deaf ears, and (did he just…?_) spit and touched the mans tongue, and says (in Aramaic), “Be opened.” But there is no formula, no magic words. Every healing is different, the only constant is God’s power. I expect that this variation is deliberate, to keep us from trying to imitate the words and actions, and instead let God lead us in our prayer and ministry. Miracles differ from magic in that wizards try to manipulate spiritual forces, while in a miracle the will and power both come from God. Even Jesus does not claim to make the miracle happen: he, having become fully human, can only trust God to direct and work through him by the power of the Holy Spirit, just as we ought to.

Lord, you teach that you do only and always everything you see your Father in Heaven doing. You tell us that we will do even greater things through the same Holy Spirit. Teach us to trust and obey just as you did.