Practicing What He Preaches

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Mark 7 begins with another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees, this time over ritual cleanness and uncleanness. The Pharisees take issue with Jesus’ neglect of traditional rituals (things added to the Scriptures, not things commanded by the Scriptures). Jesus clarifies what had been obscured by the Pharisees’ traditions: cleanness and uncleanness are a matter of the heart, not kosher food or ritual handwashing.

See notes and audio here.

Mark 7 ends with Jesus in Gentile country dealing with so-called “unclean” people. What He has been preaching, now He puts into practice. The faith of the Syrophoenician widow shows that her heart is clean—because she has faith in Jesus—while the Pharisees are unclean—because they refuse to have faith in Jesus.

The healing of the deaf and mute man is a story unique to Mark that highlights the theme and purpose of the Second Gospel: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He is the One who spoke and all creation sprang forth from nothing; He is the one who formed Adam from the dust of the earth. Here in Mark 7, He is the One who fixes what sin has broken: He commands (“Be opened!”) and touches his ears and tongue. Genesis 1 ends with God’s approval of all He had made; Mark 7 ends with the people’s approval of Jesus’ works, “He has done everything well!”

See notes and audio here.

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