Year 2 Day 310
Read - Mark 7:17-19
Now be honest with yourself, I’m not looking for you to submit your answer so you can be. Have you ever been in the situation that you just didn’t get it? The it might have been a joke, it might have been what the teacher was teaching and I felt like that a lot, it might have been something you were being told by a friend, it could have been any number of things at numerous times. We can all face times like that and it can happen to the plain teaching of scripture, think to these disciples for as the crowd are left behind on entering the house the disciples ask what was the meaning of what Jesus had taught (v17). They had not understood the significance of what Jesus said. Look at the words of Jesus to the disciples at their question, v18 the KJV and ESV put it as “are you also without understanding”, I like the NIV for this, “are you so dull?”(18) although I’d advise against ever saying that to someone!
Now as Jesus explains it to them he does so by using how the digestive system works. Food is of course one of those necessities of life, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had seen the disciples eat with unclean hands. Therefore the food that they ate was unclean and they were unclean. Whereas Jesus here makes the point once more that nothing that comes from the outside can make him unclean. The reason why is that it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach. Now the word heart here is the innermost self, the, the source of the spirit and emotional life. Like figuratively today in many love songs it’s all about how the heart feels. Food of course even with a basic understanding of autonomy, we know goes not into the heart, but the stomach. The disciples eat with unclean hands and therefore the food is unclean but it goes not to their heart but their stomach.
How can a physical thing like food make one make the heart unclean, spiritually unclean, for uncleanness has to do not with our stomach, but with our heart. Our cleanliness or rather our uncleanness, or defilement has to do not with our stomach but with our heart. The closing of v19 is, “in saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean””. In the book of Acts the apostle Peter who had been there with Jesus, who was there when the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had challenged Jesus for his disciples behaviour, he was there when Jesus gathered the crowd around him and told them to listen, he was there in that house as the disciples asked about this parable.
Well in Acts 10, we are told of the vision of Peter and in it the Lord spoke to him and told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven (Acts 10:10-16). This vision of Peter’s led to his ministry to the unclean Gentiles, but it also revealed that years later, even though he had been taught this, he still hadn’t grasped its significance. So incredible were the words of Jesus that even those whom he explained them to, still had trouble believing that they were not made unclean with what went in and they had trouble adjusting to a new way of life.
It is hard for us to come to something with fresh eyes, to examine what we do in all ways against the scriptures. There are things that we all hold dear to that we struggle to let go because that’s what we have grown up with rather than it being what the scripture teaches. We should all be desiring that we are teachable, praying that we are teachable, that the Lord would conform us more and more into his image, rather than us being conformed into the image of our culture or of someone else.
Message - Alan Burke
Q68 What is required in the sixth commandment?
The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, (Eph. 5:28–29) and the life of others. (1 Kings 18:4)