Mark 7:1-37 Sermon Manuscript

-What kind of food do you like? My favorite foods are pretty much all summed up at Thanksgiving, BUT the turkey has to be cooked correctly (believe it or not, turkey doesn’t have to be dry when you eat it). The weird thing about all the family meals/get togethers is how the tables get separated, has anyone ever heard of the kid’s table? It seems that no matter how old you get, at some get together you’ll still be relegated to the kid’s table. 

-Hi to all the kids!

-We’re going to look today at the difference between getting to sit at the grown up table vs being stuck even lower than the kid’s table!

READ/PRAY (491-2) How to find verses. Why do we stand? Neh. 8:5Luke 4:16

  1. The Pharisees’ Lack of Heart (1-13)

-Last week Pastor Micah reminded us of the way God provides for His people, especially in the wilderness!

-Pharisees and scribes again: last saw them in Mark 3 where Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees went to collude with the Herodians to try to kill Jesus, and the scribes are accusing Jesus of being from Beelzebul.

-Once again they’re fighting against Jesus. Not coming to just chat or learn from Jesus, coming looking for ammunition to use against Him.

-Doesn’t take them long to find an issue! The disciples didn’t wash their hands before dinner.

-How many of you have to wash your hands before you eat dinner? Your parents are very wise! There’s biological reasons for that: you can get sick if you ingest the wrong things. Now imagine that not only would you get sick, but people at church also told you that it would make you sinful to eat without washing your hands. How much worse would that make forgetting to wash your hands?

-“The tradition of the elders” God’s written law and God’s spoken law (Mishnah) Placed a fence around the Torah, stated that God’s law wasn’t clear enough, so needed to add to it.

-This included proper cleaning procedures for individual items in a home. A bowl will retain uncleanness, a plate would not. A soft surface (clothes or a mattress) would retain uncleanness, a hard surface (shovel) would not.

-Pharisees and scribes have their opportunity! They ask Jesus why His disciples are acting this way. Either didn’t see Jesus do it or recognize that He’s responsible for His disciples’ actions.

-Does Jesus answer their question? He hardly even acknowledges it! He takes their question and brings it to its’ underlying issue: where does our authority come from? Jesus uses and appeals to Isaiah 29:13 to demonstrate the unique role God’s written Word should have for us.

-“Tradition” is repeated throughout this section, and here Jesus compares tradition to “the commandment of God.”

-Jesus continues with a statement dripping with sarcasm in vs. 9. Same word used to describe that prophesy against them “WELL did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites” here “You have done WELL (fine) at rejecting.” But it’s just regarding what should be washed or not, Jesus uses a specific example modern to their context:

-Moses (prophet of God, speaking on behalf of God) in a few different places commands honor/respect given to parents (quotes from Ex. 21:17, Lev. 20:9; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16)

-The Pharisees, however, have changed that idea and allowed people to label specific money as “Corban” (author’s note on this idea). Corban was money that was set aside for a future gift to God, which was then not allowed to be used for anything else, potentially leaving someone’s parents destitute. (Retirement account for thousands of years was having children)

-“Making void the word of God by your tradition.” What an indictment! As is “And many such things you do.”

-Tradition vs. traditionalism. Living means it still matters today and has value today and has been passed down through the generations. A dead faith is useless.

-Altar calls. Stir up emotions so people “ask Jesus into their hearts” every week. Had a season in ministry a few years back where every new person asked why we didn’t do altar calls.

-Clothing (church clothes vs change clothes). The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, or wearing certain clothes.

-Music. This is a funny one! Music is all about personal preference, there isn’t a God ordained style of music, intentionally! Here’s a “prayer request” I received one time. (if you ever have an issue, talk about it! Don’t send an anonymous note!)

-Playing cards. Grandma found my dad and I playing hearts and shared she wasn’t allowed to!

-Dancing. Grandma WAS allowed to dance!

-Watching movies. I remember hearing a retired pastor do a pulpit fill at a church I served onetime who used a movie as an illustration, and then said “I know I’m not supposed to watch movies.”

-Tertullian: “Just as Jesus was crucified between two thieves, so the gospel is ever crucified between…two errors.” Keller: Religion, and irreligion. “Religion says that we have to live a holy, good life in order to be saved. Irreligion says that because we are saved, we don’t have to live a holy, good life.”

-The gospel cuts through both of these problems and can’t be summarized by either of them! Jesus says you can’t save yourself, so come to Him! Jesus then goes on to say because you are saved you can now live a holy and good life!

-Both are problems: we can’t just say we’re saved and live however we’re want (which cuts against some of the hyper-individualism of our culture), but we also can’t say that in order to be saved you have to live/ act/ dress a certain way (which cuts against everyone’s impulses! Just tell me what I have to do, and I’ll do it! The problem with that is that it’s already been done! 

  • The Heart of the Matter (14-23)

-Jesus summarizes the conversation with the Pharisees and scribes by telling the crowd nearby that holiness (purity, cleanliness) isn’t a matter of following all the rules perfectly. They have the order reversed! What comes out reveals whether someone is holy or not.

-Walking with a full glass of dirty water, what comes out if someone bumps me? Is it their fault, or mine? Pharisees would say it’s your fault because you were unclean and spilled that uncleanness onto me! Jesus would say it’s my fault, because I don’t have to be unclean!

-Disciples ask the question, and Jesus gives a basic biology lesson. The stomach and the heart are 2 very different systems with 2 very different purposes and functions. (one aspect of which means we get to eat pig now! And if anyone else has had pork, sausage or bacon (not turkey bacon that’s gross), you can thank Jesus for that!)

-Not only can food not defile you, what can defile you is found in the heart (the center of your being) A long list of issues! Once again, Jesus is reminding us that we don’t pursue these sinful traits and then throw up a quick confession and go back to our sinful ways, these external traits reveal the status of our heart, which determines whether we’re clean or dirty.

-The difficulty is it’s WAY harder to diagnose a heart issue, and WAY easier to get what looks like obedience by just following the right rules, which is legalism. Creating a fence around the law so you don’t even get close to breaking the rules. (dog who’s an escape artist, don’t let him near doors that go outside, don’t let him near doors, don’t let him outside his room, don’t let him outside his crate)

-Almost hate to talk about it, but one of the best examples of this took place a few years ago with the Duggar family (stars of 17, 18, 19 kids and counting). It was revealed that Josh had abused his sisters as they were growing up. This shouldn’t have happened! They were sheltered from the bad influences of the world! They weren’t allowed to watch TV shows, the internet was filtered, they were only allowed to wear specific and modest clothing, weren’t even allowed to date (or court) without a chaperone. How could such a terrible thing happen? Because sin isn’t something we need to be sheltered from, sin is something we need to be delivered from. We have a tendency to view discipleship as protection from (don’t do this list of rules), instead we need to view discipleship (parenting is the best place to be making disciples) as equipping and training to overcome the world (through Jesus). A list of rules isn’t enough to transform a sinful heart, for that we need a Savior. Solzhenitsyn. Chesterton: “I am.” 

-If you haven’t ever trusted in Jesus, today is a great day to do that! Throughout the book of Acts, we see people hearing this message and asking: What do I need to do to be saved? The answer: Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

-When you are saved, Jesus’ heart towards you becomes tender and compassionate, and pursuing holiness suddenly becomes a joy instead of a burden, as is demonstrated by the rest of this chapter:

  • The Heart of God (24-37)
    • Toward a Gentile Woman (24-30)

-“Region” doesn’t say he’s in Tyre and Sidon, that’s important as I’ll share later. This is a bit of an alarming text, as Jesus appears heartless, racist, and demeaning, He doesn’t seem like the kind compassionate person we’ve come to know Him as. Perhaps Jesus is hangry again, as He was toward the fig tree that we studied on Palm Sunday?

-We need to note the bigger context of what’s taking place: last week we saw a story of thousands being fed by a lunchable, and then Jesus walks on water and Mark says the disciples still had hard hearts about the feeding/bread.

-Bread is a demonstration of God’s provision: we have no spiritual needs, we’ll lack nothing because God has and will continue to provide. But guess what, that feeding is only the first time Jesus provides for the masses, next week we’ll be looking at the only slightly less miraculous feeding of the 4,000, and smack in between those 2 miracles is this woman who has a conversation with Jesus about bread.

-Once again, Jesus is trying to withdraw to spend time teaching His disciples and to recharge. But His fame has spread so far that even Gentiles want to be with Him now! This women isn’t just a Gentile though, she’s a Syrophoenician which is the worst of the worst. And this woman’s daughter is afflicted by an evil spirit who torments her. 

-Remember Jairus from a few weeks ago, who had a daughter in a similar position? He should come into mind now because there’s an intentional comparison being drawn between those who are “in” and those who are “out.” This woman was as far “out” as you can get! A Gentile, living in a Gentile territory, and born as a sworn enemy of Israel. Yet she knows there’s something different about this Jesus that demands a response from her. 

-Before we look at their conversation, we need to go back a few books of the Bible to 1 Kings 17, to a prophet named Elijah.

-Elijah lived in a rough time of Israel’s history: corrupt king who just wanted power, his wife was literally Jezebel who was a vindictive, conniving woman. She brought the worship of a false god named Baal to Israel, and introduced it in Tyre. Elijah heard from the Lord that there would be a 3 year draught in Israel that would wipe out much of the economy of the land, yet the King still didn’t repent! God leads Elijah to Sidon (where we’re at in today’s story!) to a Gentile widow who was used to feed Elijah, and just as God provided for the thousands in Mark, God provided flour and oil for this widow and her family throughout the entire drought. Yet shortly after this provision of food, the woman’s son died, and God provided for her again by Elijah raising her son back to life! Do you think that story may have been passed down through the generations in this “area of Tyre and Sidon,” so this mother knew that if a prophet from God came there was the potential for healing and provision?

-Think of the state of both of these children: in Elijah’s day the child was dead, in Jesus’ day do you think his mother wished her child to be dead to spare her from her misery? JC Ryle: “Hopeless and desperate as her case appeared, she had a praying mother. And where there is a praying mother, there is always hope.” Story of Grandma praying for my dad’s cousin Rick

-With all that background in mind, look at what Jesus says to her (27). Dog is a derogatory way of referring to a Gentile. 1st cent. Jewish writings would refer to Gentiles as dogs (not house pets, dirty scavengers like rats). Jesus tells her His primary mission and focus is to the Israelites, God’s chosen people. They must be fed first (which they just had in the previous chapter), and it’s wrong to try to feed the “dogs” when the “children” are going hungry.

-The woman is shown to know who Jesus is. In Matthew’s account of this story, she calls out to Jesus 3 times calling Him Lord, the Son of David. There’s no doubt, no confusion, no hard heart. Compare that to the scribes & Pharisees, or the crowd, or even at this point the disciples. Peter’s confession doesn’t come until the next chapter, this woman acknowledges who Jesus really is before the disciples!

-In Jesus’ reply to this woman, He seems to tip her off to an underlying message He’s trying to communicate – kind of like when you pick on someone and wink at them as you say it! Remember who else is with Jesus: His disciples! So as He talks to this woman He’s also using it to teach a lesson to them, it’s like He’s answering the woman while staring at His followers. This is exactly how they would refer to this woman, IF they’d even acknowledge she exists (in Matthew the woman is so persistent they beg Jesus to get rid of her). What’s Jesus’ underlying message that she goes for? “First.” She said “give them all they want! If the only thing available to me is the crumbs I WANT THE CRUMBS! Heard 1 pastor say, she heard Jesus’ reply and said “So you’re saying there’s a chance.” 

-NLT – “Good answer!” 

-Church don’t miss this: even the crumbs God are better than a full meal of earthly goods. The crumbs will last forever, everything else will fade away, and crumbs from God are enough to satisfy the deepest longings and desires of your heart.

  • Toward a Deaf Man (31-37)

-Takes the long way around (no one knows why), to end up in the Decapolis: Greek for 10 cities. Similar to the previous story, He’s not going to get a break! As soon as people find out who’s in town, they’ll flock to Him! This time, they brought a man who was deaf and had a talking issue in order to be healed by Jesus.

-Jesus takes Him away privately. Jesus doesn’t see the man as a mere problem or issue, but as a person. Jesus then does some things that seem weird, right? Wet willy in his ears, then spits on his hand and touches the man’s tongue. 

-Ferguson quote.

-What do you think was behind Jesus’ sigh? Could also translate that as a groan. Ears blocked up and inability to talk aren’t the way things are supposed to be. When God created the world, everything was very good. All these other issues is because of the effects of sin in our broken world today.

-The result of this miracle is the same response to God’s initial creation of the world: it is very good! Everlasting peace has been brought back into the world, things are as they should be once again!

-These miracles demonstrate the joy that comes from living as children of God. Because God does everything well, there’s hope for all of our lives to be restored and renewed. It might not happen on this side of eternity, but it’s guaranteed to come. God has provided everything we need, and then some, IF we put our faith in Him.

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