February 13, 2024
Tuesday morning Bible study on the Gospel of Mark 7:14-23
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ washed over each of us in our Baptisms, and to this very day continues to bring renewal of our hearts in the face of the darkness that we each know through the sin that surrounds us, and sometimes overtakes us.
Today is Fat Tuesday. In the church, the day before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday. Rather than partying, this is a day of preparation for the days of darkness which grow to their fullness in the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a day when we are to be mindful of the forgiveness and absolution which enters our lives through the Grace of the Savior. Please join us at American tomorrow at Noon or 7PM to receive the imposition of ashes, and the renewing love of Christ in the Holy Communion.
Today we are covering another portion of text in the 7th chapter of Mark, verses 14-23. This is perhaps the most radical change which Jesus brings to the people. For centuries, Hebrews/Jews lived by the strictest of food laws created by man. I want to indicate that there may well have been a good reason for not eating pork. It carried diseases that could create health crises. But there were many other issues too over food, and a myriad of rules for not eating certain foods to maintain a good relationship with God. In this passage Jesus makes it most clear that there really are no food rules. A person doesn't become unclean because of eating something, rather their defilement comes from their own hearts. Let's take a few minutes to look at the list of the things which Jesus says come from the hearts of people.
1. The first is evil designs. (dialogismoi) Every outward expression of sin comes first from the inward act of choice.
2. The next is fornication. It is any and every kind of traffic in sexual vices. (porneiai) It will finally include adultery.
3. Third on this list is theft. It is described by two Greek words. (klopai) meaning the act of taking something which is not the thief's. But there is another kind. The Greek is (lestes) or brigand. Judas was this kind of thief. Words to describe it would be deceitful, dishonorable, pilferer, without any redeeming characteristics.
4. Covetous deeds, (pleonexiai). This love of having is the spirit which snatches at things not to hoard them like a miser, but to spend them in lust and luxury. This love of having can never be completely satisfied. It is finding joy in things rather than in God!
5. The desire to do harm. (poneriai) This person is willing to do harm to anyone. They are literally filled with poneros, the name for Satan.
6. Wanton wickedness. (aselgeia) This is one whose spirit resents all discipline. One who feels no restraints, no shame. Jezebel was the worst in the Bible and fit this issue to a tee. She had envy controlling her life.
7. Pride (huperephania) The Greek literally means showing oneself above all others, including God!
8. Slander (blasphemia) This is literally using words against people, or even against God.
9. Folly (aphrosune) This is not a reference to a person with limited abilities, rather it speaks to those who play the fool.
Please do not be too critical of my Greek. I want to thank the writing of William Barclay for its assistance in this.
This list is certainly a list of terrible characteristics that come from the hearts of people. Stop, take time to think about yourself, and how you may be carrying some of this in your own heart. Is it any wonder that we need confession on Sundays at worship! Jesus said that eating any food was never the issue between God and His children, it was, and is the hearts of God's children. That is every one of us. In our Ash Wednesday service we begin with the imposition of ashes which is our knowledge that the wages of any sin is death, and we all have it. But then later in the worship we come to the loving forgiveness of Christ, our Savior, in the bread and wine of Communion, the Body and Blood of the Savior given and shed for each and every one of God's children so that our sins will be forgiven.
I give thanks every day for the Christ of God, and His Love for you and me!
In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim