What prevents us from receiving and living Jesus’ super-abundant life? What obstacles (Jesus calls them ‘defilement’) block us from receiving? Can we do anything to remove them?
We know of many human ways to prevent illness (body and mind), and many concern with physical food (intake). We read today what Jesus has taught His disciples on what make a person sick (unwell). Jesus has promised His believer an abundant life. Let us read and pray that the Lord give us discernment and understanding. Let us pray that the Lord shows us how to overcome those things that continue to hinder us from His divine healing and wellness. God wants us well. God has provided healing through Jesus for all who come to Him and believe. (Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 Peter 2:24)
There is no defilement that Jesus is unwilling to cleanse and heal. A leper who was avoided and rejected by his community went to Jesus and asked for cleansing even though he was uncertain whether Jesus would do it. But Jesus responded with mercy and compassion and said He was willing. Jesus touched the unclean leper and healed him. (Matthew 8:1-3 )
Mark 7:1-23 (NKJV) (Quotes in parts; boldness added; my notes in italics)
Notes: The Pharisees and scribes are executors and teachers of the Jewish traditions and laws originally derived from Moses’ teachings. Their tradition added minute and tedious man-made details to the original Law of Moses. The religious leaders scrutinized Jesus’ disciples to find physical proofs so that they could accuse Him and discredit Him and proclaim to the people that Jesus was not a genuine teacher (Rabbi) of the Law. Because of jealousy, they were even attempting to find a way to sentence Him to death.
~~~~~~Mark 7:1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2 Now when[a] they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault…holding the tradition of the elders… And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
Notes: But Jesus knew what those enemies were scheming in their heart. They were hypocrites, acting and claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which their own behavior does not conform. Jesus pointed out that their heart were not right with God. Therefore they could not really obey and follow God’s commandments.
~~~~~~Mark 7: 6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’[b] 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men[c] —… 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Notes: Following the above confrontation with the religious hypocrites, Jesus went further to teach on what makes a person sick. Please note that He is not talking about hygiene here. He separated the person into two parts: the outer part and the inner part. Sickness originates from the inner part. Jesus used the term “defile” to describe the cause of ‘sickness’ (harm to our body). The body is created and programmed to filter and pass out visible refuse and waste. But there are other invisible refuse which cause harm to a person often without being detected. Jesus said that physical food cannot enter our heart. But the unseen evil can enter a man’s heart without detection and produces evil harmful outcome.
~~~~~~Mark 7: 14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand…but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man… 17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him … 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”[g]
Notes: What are the stuff that can enter the heart, put poison there, and produce evil outcome? Thoughts, schemes, attitude, desires, actions, spoken words, behavior, conduct of lives (toward God, self and others). Jesus gave the following list of evil stuff that causes harm to a person:
Mark 7:21-23 Amplified Bible (AMP)
21 For from within, [that is] out the heart of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). 23 All these evil things [schemes and desires] come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
- Mark 7:2 NU-Text omits when and they found fault.
- Mark 7:7 Isaiah 29:13
- Mark 7:8 NU-Text omits the rest of this verse.
- Mark 7:10 Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16
- Mark 7:10 Exodus 21:17
- Mark 7:16 NU-Text omits this verse.
- Mark 7:19 NU-Text ends quotation with eliminated, setting off the final clause as Mark’s comment that Jesus has declared all foods clean.
Isaiah 53:4-5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
1 Peter 2:24-25 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
24 He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [a][as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.
25 For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian ([b]the Bishop) of your souls.