From Pastor Perry

Mark 7:31–37 (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

If I were going to loose any of my senses, I think I would want to loose smell.  But if you narrow it down to being blind or deaf, I would definitely take deaf.  Could you imagine never knowing where you are.  I’m not claustrophobic, but I would feel trapped not being able to see my way around.  Deaf, I could deal with.  However... I wouldn’t want to be deaf either.  They brought a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment.  Whether the speed impediment was due to his deafness, I don’t know.  They begged Jesus to heal him.  Jesus healed him.  Both deafness and speech impediment were gone.  I know there was a time that I had lost about 45% of my hearing due to fluid build up.  They doctors put tubes in my ears and drained them.  My hearing was restored immediately.  I was so happy to hear.  I went out to my car and started it.  The radio was so loud that I jumped and turned it down immediately.  Wow, I really had lost a lot of hearing, but not any more.

I pray: O Lord, you are the great physician, the creator of all things.  You have power to heal and the power to take life.  You really are the Son of God.  Amen. 

Mark 7:24–30 (ESV)
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Today’s reading is kind of cryptic.  To build on the basics, Jesus came first to save the Jews.  At this point, his ministry is still focused on the Jews.  This lady is not a Jew, but a Gentile.  When She begs Jesus to heal her daughter, but Jesus responds in an odd way.  He says “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  The children are the Jews... and well, the dogs are the gentiles.  So... is Jesus calling this lady a dog?  Well, yes, but it doesn’t trip of this lady.  She responds “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  There is a lot to her statement.  She is basically saying take care of the Jews, and she will be happy to receive the unwanted crumbs.  The unwanted crumbs that they brush off the table or maybe sweep off their clothes.  They still get what they wanted without her taking anything away from them... she will be satisfied with the unwanted crumbs.  Jesus responds back, “For this statement you may go your way; the demons has left your daughter.  Jesus extended his grace and mercy to a gentile.

I pray: O Lord, I feel doubly blessed to receive your grace and mercy.  You came for the Jews, but extended your grace and mercy to the gentiles.  Your forgiveness is for all people, and I give thanks.  I repent of my sins and want to do better.  Amen.

Mark 7:14–23 (ESV)
What Defiles a Person
14 And 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.”

If you have ever traveled to New York City, you will most likely see some kosher restaurants.  Kosher means that the food was prepared according to Jewish dietary laws.  Here in Shreveport, there are no kosher restaurants.  In today’s readings, Jesus declares all food as clean.  This means even pork (bbbbaaaaccccooonnnn)!  Jesus says “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.”  Eating unclean food does not make you have evil thoughts, live sexual immorally, steal, murder, commit adultery, covet, live wickedly, deceive, live sensuality, envy, to slander others, be full of pride, or foolishness.  These are heart problems.  Now when I say these are heart problems, this is an expression that means a problem from within the body.  These would really be more the functions of the brain, but the expression refers to the heart.  Maybe because if the heart stops, you die.  Jesus is not worried about what you eat as to how you live and treat others.

I pray: O Lord, help me to work on my “heart problems” and to live a Godly life.  I know I am not saved by how I live, but by your grace and mercy and the forgiveness of sins.  I know I am saved by faith, but help me to walk according to your ways so that my life can be a better witness.  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.’
8 You 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.”

I remember when I was a kid, we would get our group together to play on the playground and along comes more kids.  Someone would cry out “Tick tock, the game is locked, nobody else can play.”  I also remember that when you were winning, someone would change the rules which quite often ended the game with hurt feelings.  Well... some kids never grew up.  The Pharisees, who liked the law, added to the law... making “man made” laws and rules along side of God made laws.  The Pharisees are arguing with Jesus over “man made” laws.  Jesus simply takes them back to “God’s Law.”  Jesus basically tells them how can you quibble over man made laws, yet turn your back on God’s Law.  This is hypocritical.  The Lutheran Study Bible states “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: O Lord, Help me to live a God pleasing life instead of a man pleasing life.  Help me to focus on your Word and not get bogged down in man made words.  Help me to live for you and not based on the opinion of others.  Forgive me Lord and restore me.  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.

I remember watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and one of my favorite parts was the “Bring out your dead” scene.  Almost like garbage, people in the village are bringing out the dead bodies in their houses and laying them in the street.  Much like a garbage truck coming down the street, the garbage man comes pushing a wheel barrow and collecting the dead bodies.  He was crying “bring out your dead”.  It is sick humor... but that is Monty Python.  One of the so called  dead bodies responds “I’m not dead!"  Well the garbage man kills him.   This is not funny unless you see it... and like Monty Python.  Never-the-less, people are bringing the sick out into the streets, because they have heard that Jesus is coming.  They are hoping that he will heal them or perhaps they can touch the “fringe of his garment.”   Well, many were healed by touching.  To be honest, it was becoming more of a freak show and people were missing the message.  Jesus can heal a person, or even raise the dead... but they will still die.  It’s not permanent.  However his message does bring “eternal life.”   His message is far more important than the miracles.

I pray: O Lord, it is easy for people to miss the point of Jesus ministry.  Often people want to use the Lord for material possessions or for healing.  They only want what perishes and miss out on eternal life.  Help us to reach out with a clear message of repentance of sins and receiving the forgiveness of sins won by our resurrected Lord.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to work the seeds of faith that have been planted.  Amen.

Latest comments

05.03 | 22:15

Pastor. since I did not get to attend church today, I read your blog and found it
to be so informative for Ash Wednesday. Thanks for your comments.

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25.12 | 07:53

Amen+

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28.11 | 13:00

Happy Thanksgiving

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03.11 | 01:46

A-Men!!!

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