Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah #15

Read Mark 9-23


9 And he said to them: “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 your mother,’ 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 help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his 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 man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’’”

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 man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ”


Notes:



vv. 9-13 – Jesus clearly illustrates how people had perverted God’s intention in His good laws. “Corban” was a financial gift to God. Instead of carrying out the duty of a son to care for his aging parents, some sons were declaring all their earnings as “Corban.” Therefore, it was dedicated to God and couldn’t be used for their parents’ needs. “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition…. And you do many things like that.” (v. 13)



vv. 14-23 – Then Jesus attacks their customs about what should not be eaten because of
religious rules.  Once again, these rules were intended to help people remain aware of their daily life before God.  Each time they ate, they would be reminded that they were in God’s Presence and were called to carry out His will in their daily life.  The struggle for righteousness is an ongoing call.  However, these rituals and rules had now become their religion.

Instead, Jesus calls them to the greater struggle – the “greater jihad” – of dealing with one’s sinful attitudes and inclinations.  Our focus should not be on what comes into our body but on what goes out in our daily life:  “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” (vv. 21-23)



Before we can presume to call others to righteousness in God’s struggle of love, we need to practice righteousness ourselves. We need to repent of our sins and weaknesses.  We need to become like Jesus if we want to follow Him and join His struggle for righteousness for the sake of God’s Kingdom. 


What are the “evil thoughts” in your heart that make you “unclean?”  You can pray to God in Jesus’ Name for the Holy Spirit to come and renew you.  Then God the Father will say to you as He said to Jesus at the beginning of His ministry:  “You are My son, whom I love.  With you I am well pleased.”  (Mark 1:11)


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