The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 7   

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The Tradition of the Elders

1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, 2 and they saw some of His disciples eating with hands that were defiled—that is, unwashed.

3 Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially. 4 And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining.

5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands.”

6 Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘These people honor Me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from Me.

7 They worship Me in vain;

they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.’

8 You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.”

9 He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the command of God to maintaine your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’f and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever you would have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12 he is no longer permitted to do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.”

Study Questions to consider: The Pharisees and scribes represented the leadership in Jerusalem. Unable to trap Jesus on the issue of Sabbath observance, they have come to Galilee to raise other issues, including the traditiion of the elders on hand washing. Jesus points to their hypocrisy in ignoring Moses’ command to honor your father and mother, substituting their own allowance to give only to God, a practice which the scribes and Pharisees favored.

What Defiles a Man

14 Once again Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “All of you, listen to Me and understand: 15-16  Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him; but the things that come out of a man, these are what defile him.”

17 After Jesus had left the crowd and gone into the house, His disciples inquired about the parable.

18 “Are you still so dull?” He asked. “Do you not understand? Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him, 19  because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into the stomach and then is eliminated.” (Thus all foods are clean.)

20 He continued: “What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. 21 For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  22 greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23 All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”

The Faith of the Gentile Woman

24 Jesus left that place and went to the region of Tyre.  Not wanting anyone to know He was there, He entered a house, but was unable to escape their notice. 25 Instead, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit soon heard about Jesus, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 Now she was a Greek woman of Syrophoenician origin, and she kept asking Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children have their fill,” He said. “For it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “even the dogsl under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then Jesus told her, “Because of this answer, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.

Study Questions to consider: Jesus’ mission was to present himself as Messiah to the nation of Israel. However the continued antagonism from the Jewish leadership is contrasted by the faith of this Gentile woman. He relents to her act of faith and casts the demon out of her child.

The Deaf and Mute Man

31 Then Jesus left the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.  32 Some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and hardly able to speak, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him.

33 So Jesus took him aside privately, away from the crowd, and put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”).  35 Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released, and he began to speak plainly.

36 Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more He ordered them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 The people were utterly astonished and said, “He has done all things well! He makes even the deaf hear and the mute speak!”


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