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A Heart For God: Conflict with Tradition (Mark 7:1-37)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Conflict with Tradition (Mark 7:1-37)

(This is supplement 6 to the #mkbiblechat study taking place every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, 6:30 Pacific USA. Pastor Mike is teaching the Gospel of Mark on Twitter. Click here for class schedule and links to the notes. Click here to follow Pastor Mike on Twitter.)


"(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders.)" (Mark 7:3)

The Pharisees and scribes are groups first instituted for a good reason. During the exile, the Pharisees arose to make sure the Israelites never turned from God again. The duty of the scribes was to immerse themselves in the Scriptures and work on communicating it effectively to other Jews (they were the preachers?).

These come down to Jesus for a noble purpose which has become twisted by "tradition." (Mark 7:1-13) It is an "oral" tradition passed down orally and not written down until later. Traditions usually have a good purpose. The problem arises when they are elevated above God's commands.


"'There is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.'" (Mark 7:15)

The outside of man is not the issue. (Mark 7:14-19) Another "tradition" is dealt with: "Thus He declared all foods clean." (Mark 7:19b) The Jewish kosher system is eliminated.

Personal Illustration: There are some areas in my yard that are real easy to weed eat. And there are some areas in my yard that are real hard to weed eat. This is the hard stuff in this passage. (Mark 7:20-23) We like to do the easy stuff. We like to set up "tradition" (we like to focus on what is done on the outside), live up to it and then think everything's okay. It's self-deception. It's the inside that matters to God.


This is what I call the "Pit bull model of intercessory prayer." (Mark 7:24-26) (Matthew's parallel account emphasizes all the more the depth of intercession on the part of the woman ~ Matthew 15:21-28.)

The woman is a Gentile/non-Jew. (Mark 7:26a) This is important to understand the conversation later where another "tradition" is dealt with.

"And she kept asking Him (Jesus) to cast the demon out of her daughter." (Mark 7:26b) Intercession requires: (1) keen supernatural discernment; (2) recognition of no real help apart from God; (3) pursuit of Christ regardless of obstacles ("tradition" is the obstacle here).

Illustration: "Pit bulls will bite their victims and literally never let go. They must be killed." No, this gal doesn't bite Jesus, but she's ferocious, tenacious. She lays hold of Him and won't let go until her need is met. (Mark 7:29-30)


Initial thoughts:

1. This healing only found in Mark 7:31-37 (though Matthew 15:29-31 suggested as parallel account in Synopsis of the Four Gospels);

2. Prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 35:5-6;

3. Note the interaction and personal care of Christ at a personal level;

4. Sighing a sign of our Lord's pity? (Mark 7:34a) ~ "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15a; KJV);

5. Add "Ephphatha!" to prayers ("Be opened"). (Mark 7:34b)

So many with closed ears to Gospel and impeded tongues to speaking God's praise. (Matthew Henry)


1. Jesus gives a list of 13 things that defile (make dirty, pollute) a man or woman. (Mark 7:20-23) Have you ever battled any of these in your own life?

2. Name some traditions the church you attend observes. (Mark 7:1-5)

3. It is through unusual means that Jesus heals the deaf and dumb man. (Mark 7:33-35) Have you ever known anyone who was unusually healed?

4. Jesus speaks to a Gentile woman in a rather odd way. (Mark 7:27) She understands what He's talking about. (Mark 7:28-29) What is Jesus talking about?

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