Mark 7:1-23 (NIV)
That Which Defiles
7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied 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; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Have you ever had a conflict between your religious obligations and your obligations to your loved ones?
Lord Jesus, I owe You everything. You gave me life and then because I messed it up, You redeemed me through Your death and resurrection and gave me eternal life. All who I am and all that I have is Yours. You are the number one priority in my life. I want to worship You and serve You and actively live out my gratitude for Your grace and mercy. You have also given me a husband, family, and friends who I love and share life. I need to manage my obligation to You and to my family. The Pharisees discounted the obligation to the family with their obligation to the law. Obligations to religious law are worthless when I don’t honor You with my heart. There are seasons in life where my religious obligations may need to change. Sometimes I need to make choices about what I commit to and how I serve both You and my loved ones. There are times when my service to You is to serve my family especially when they are sick or need my care and attention. In all seasons, let my love and dedication to You be a witness as I share my faith, my service, and worship with those I love. Let me find opportunities to merge my responsibilities as a mother, a grandmother, a wife, and a friend where we can serve and worship You together. Help me to covet my time with You. Help me to not overcommit my time in other areas where it pushes You out of my life. Guide me to handle conflicts in obligations that please You. Life is full of choices and time is limited. May the priority in my life be to actively serve You with all of my heart and to share that love with those I love, in each season of life. Amen