The crowds are following Jesus and being healed. And the Pharisees and scribes come looking to accuse Jesus, but not him directly, his disciples. “Why don’t they follow the traditions of the elders?”. And Jesus responds strongly with Why do you break the commandment of God with your traditions?”. Certainly God trumps traditions, but it wasn’t a power play that Jesus was after. He wanted people to understand what it meant to be clean on the inside, to have a pure heart, to be motivated by love and goodness toward others. This was the reason for the commandments, not to teach what not to do, but to bring people to a place where they could understand purity beginning with pure thoughts. Then, this woman finds Jesus. She has no right, she has no standing, but her heart is pure and Jesus says, “Let it be done for you as you want”.
Clean and Unclean
Why Do Your Disciples Not Live According to the Tradition
Jesus is continuing to teach and preach and heal and the crowds are coming to him wherever he is. So, in Mark 7:1 “the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered to him” and in Mark 7:5 “asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unclean hands?””. He, Jesus, then responds to them in Mark 7:6-13 and explains that there are commandments of God that they ought to follow. And if they followed these commandments, their hearts would be close to God’s heart. The one example Jesus gives is supporting your father and mother first before supporting the ordinances of the traditions of men.
In his response, he doesn’t say anything about washing of hands. Instead, in Mark 7:7-8 he goes right to “the commandments of men”. These are not God’s commandments but are rituals established by men to demonstrate their piety publicly, to cause others to bow to them, to establish position and control over others. The one thing that Jesus mentions is this line in Mark 7:11-12 that encourages a man to say to his parents, “Whatever benefit you would have received from me is corban” (that is, a gift to God)”. And then Jesus says in Mark 7:13 “thus making void the word of God”. And how many of us in the Church have done just this. Seeking to do God’s will, some have found themselves under the authority abusers, those that take everything from you for their own grand plans.
Jesus said it this way in
Matthew 7:15 (LEB) “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside are ravenous wolves.
Paul said it this way in
Acts 20:29–31 (LEB) I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 And from among you yourselves men will arise, speaking ⌊perversions of the truth⌋ in order to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you* with tears.
What Comes Out of a Person Defiles
Now, Jesus comes to a description of what is unclean. This is what defiles a person, not what goes in, but what comes out of them. He says in
Mark 7:21–23 (LEB) For from within, from the heart of people, come evil plans, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, acts of greed, malicious deeds, deceit, licentiousness, ⌊envy⌋, abusive speech, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”
Why Do You Break the Commandment of God
In Matthews account, Matthew 15:1-2, the Pharisees come accusing Jesus disciples of breaking “the tradition of the elders”. Notice the political correctness in their message: It isn’t their word, it is the word of the elders and shouldn’t everyone honor their elders, shouldn’t everyone honor the traditions? And, they don’t accuse Jesus, instead, with their false honor and deference to him as Rabbi, teacher, they imply that certainly he as the leader knows better so it must be his uneducated students, these Galileans as they called them. Or maybe it is that you, Jesus, just aren’t instructing them in the right way.
Jesus didn’t entertain their accusations for a minute. He turned right back and said in Matthew 15:3 “Why do you also break the commandment of God because of your tradition?”. Now who is it that is in error? There is a higher authority than the traditions of men it is the word of God himself. God said honor your father and mother. God said care for your own family. And out of your increase give to every good work.
Explain This Parable To Us
Jesus summons the crowd and begins to explain to all of them the difference between being clean on the outside and being clean on the inside. They all understood ceremonial cleansing, it was required of them. What they didn’t understand was the concept of a clean heart, a conscience clear before God. And it is obvious they didn’t understand because in
Matthew 15:12 (LEB) Then the disciples came and* said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
Yes! He did know they were offended and he wanted the people to recognize the their error. He continues his response in
Matthew 15:13–14 (LEB) And he answered and* said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. 14 Let them! They are blind guides of the blind. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Jesus is surprised that Peter didn’t understand and goes on to explain the things that defile a man in
Matthew 15:19–20 (LEB) For from the heart come evil plans, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, abusive speech. 20 These are the things that defile a person. But eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person!”
The Syrophoenician Woman
Even the Dogs Eat the Children’s Crumbs
This woman that came to Jesus in Mark 7:25-26 was Greek. She had no covenant, no right to ask for deliverance for her daughter and Jesus answered her roughly. But she was a mother, compassionate for her child and even more than that, she knew who he was and responded, “Lord … “. Jesus accepted her words and her daughter was delivered.
Have Mercy on Me, Lord, Son of David!
Mathew gives a full account of this woman’s plight, and her interaction with Jesus. Jesus was on a mission to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When he sent the twelve apostles out he told them not to go to the gentiles and not to go to Samaria. And as she cried out to him he did not answer her. She would not relent and in
Matthew 15:25 (LEB) But she came and knelt down before him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
Then, she makes the well known statement, that eve a crumb from Jesus is more than enough to meet her need. So, in
Matthew 15:28 (LEB) Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great! Let it be done for you as you want.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Show Us A Sign
No Sign Will Be Given
Jesus has been going around from Synagogue to Synagogue and in city after city, and even on the mountainside and the seaside, miracles had been happening. People were being healed and set free from demonic influence. What more sign could he give?
The Sign of Jonah!
Jesus didn’t give them anything at first, then he mentions the sign of Jonah. They don’t get the reference, but as Jonah was three days n the belly of a whale, so Jesus will be three days in the belly of the earth. And at his resurrection, comes the age of grace, repent and be saved.
- Mark 7:1–13 Why Do Your Disciples Not Live According to the Tradition
- Matthew 15:1–9 Why Do You Break the Commandment of God
- Mark 7:24–30 Even the Dogs Eat the Children’s Crumbs
- Mark 7:1-30
- Mark 8:11-13
- Matthew 15:1-28
- Matthew 16:1-4
The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – The Gospels
This series follows the order of readings from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much different context and helps us understand the move of God as He is introducing the Saviour, the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. This series begins with Return To Me And I Will Return To You at the end of Malachi and introduces the “Witnesses” writing the Gospels.
is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview