Mark 7:14–23 (ESV)
What Defiles a Person
he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile
him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you
not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And
he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness,
deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
teaches that people are not defiled by food or other things entering the body from the outside, but rather by their own evil inclinations and sinful behaviors. This teaching exposes the uselessness of our own excuse-making and dismisses our claims that other
people and things are to blame for our shortcomings and failures. However, Jesus does not merely condemn; He also sets free. Through His promises we are liberated from sin and reconciled to God.
I pray: Lord, renew us each day with clean hearts. By Your Spirit, give us joyous words, generous spirits, and behaviors that reflect Your glory. Amen.
Mark 7:1–13 (ESV)
Traditions and Commandments
7 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him,
with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly,
holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 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.)
5 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?” 6 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;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish
your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 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)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus
making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for being overly concerned
with man-made observances while failing to fulfill God’s Commandments. Such hypocrisy still abounds, as most people worry more about human opinions than what God thinks. Given our own failures in this regard, it is a good thing that the Lord not only
commands in His Word, but also graciously forgives and promises goodness.
I pray: Lord, cleanse us each day from our sins. We thank You that Jesus was
made a fragrant, sacrificial offering for us. Amen.
Mark 6:53–56 (ESV)
Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and
ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him
that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
Not long after Jesus’ disciples failed to recognize an unmistakable
display of His divinity, the people of Gennesaret show great faith by receiving Jesus and clamoring for His healing power. Even today, those new to the faith often exhibit more conviction than those who have known Jesus for a long time. It is good news, then,
that Jesus remains devoted to us even when our commitment wavers or fails. His resolve to suffer and die for all is ample proof of that.
I pray: Lord,
give us the zeal of the Gennesaret believers. May we ever press toward You, resolute in our conviction that You can heal and restore us. Amen.
Mark 6:45–52 (ESV)
Jesus Walks on the Water
he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And
when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking
on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke
to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand
about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Demonstrating mastery over the winds and waves for a second time, Jesus calms another storm. Even more amazing,
however, is the fact that Jesus’ disciples still do not recognize His divine nature. Too often, our eyes are also blind and our hearts are just as hard. It is a good thing, therefore, that He who walked on the water that night also died in Calvary’s
darkness to save us from our hard-heartedness.
I pray: Lord, save us when we are overcome by life’s storms and our hearts are darkened by unbelief.
Calm the tempest, open our eyes, and create within us the faith to recognize You. Amen.
Mark 6:30–44 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For
many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they
ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many
things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and
villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to
them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded
them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said
a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took
up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
When a multitude
of Jesus’ followers have far too little food for all to eat, Jesus multiplies five loaves and two fishes so that all are satisfied. When problems threaten us and needs overwhelm our resources, what is our reaction? Do we turn first to the Lord? We should,
as His Word makes clear, for He still treats His flock with compassion and more than provides for every need of body and soul.
I pray: Lord, thank You
for providing so abundantly and for graciously sustaining our bodies and souls. Teach us to turn to You first in every want and need. Amen.