Monday 6 November, 2017

Mark 7:1-15

7 The Pharisees gathered around Jesus. So did some of the teachers of the law. All of them had come from Jerusalem. 2 They saw some of his disciples eating food with “unclean” hands. That means they were not washed. 3 The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands to make them “clean.” That’s what the elders teach. 4 When they come from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And they follow many other teachings. For example, they wash cups, pitchers, and kettles in a special way. 5 So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law questioned Jesus. “Why don’t your disciples live by what the elders teach?” they asked. “Why do they eat their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right. He prophesied about you people who pretend to be good. He said, “ ‘These people honor me by what they say. But their hearts are far away from me. 7 Their worship doesn’t mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.’ (Isaiah 29:13) 8 You have let go of God’s commands. And you are holding on to teachings that people have made up.” 9 Jesus continued speaking, “You have a fine way of setting aside God’s commands! You do this so you can follow your own teachings. 10 Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) He also said, ‘Anyone who asks for bad things to happen to their father or mother must be put to death.’ (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9) 11 But you allow people to say that what might have been used to help their parents is Corban. Corban means A Gift Set Apart for God. 12 So you no longer let them do anything for their parents. 13 You make the word of God useless by putting your own teachings in its place. And you do many things like this.” 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him. He said, “Listen to me, everyone. Understand this. 15-16 Nothing outside of a person can make them ‘unclean’ by going into them. It is what comes out of them that makes them ‘unclean.’ ”

Jesus does an amazing job in this passage reminding us that our attitudes and the way we think matter just as much as what we actually do. It’s not just what we say but what we think about saying that God hears. The disciples were focused on Jesus and what He was saying and doing so they didn’t do the traditional things that were expected of them. The Pharisees were watching just waiting to catch every little thing they did that wasn’t in line with what was expected of them as the disciples of a teacher. Who would you like to be more like – amazed, fascinated by Jesus or taking a critical eye to everyone and everything around you? I know what means I am a nicer person to be around.

Becoming more like Jesus each day includes Jesus changing the way we think, a little each day, so that our first response in a situation is the loving response. Engaging with God in that process helps us to see the changes, to be more receptive to change, to notice when our first reaction is not what we would like it to be so that we can keep working on our values, beliefs and attitudes. Ask God today to show you one thing where your attitudes need to adjust to become more like His.

Lord thank You that You care about us so much that You want us to understand love – how much You love us and how we should love others and ourselves. Thank You that You want to help us make use of that understanding of love to treat others and ourselves well and that to understand what is important to You. Help us to keep learning throughout our lives to respond how You would like us to in every situation.

Written by Therese Manning

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