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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 7:5-13 bible study (February 12, 2024)

February 12, 2024


Monday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 7:5-13


Blessing be on you on this crisp February morning.  May Christ lift your faith and grant you His Peace too.


Dear friends in Christ, today I am battling either severe allergies, or I have a cold.  I have been able to keep my schedule together, but I am hoping to get a rest period this afternoon.  On Saturday six members from American Lutheran attended the Installation of The Rev. Kurt J. Fangmeier at Sierra Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Vista as their newly called pastor who will serve the Gospel in their midst.  We had beautiful snow as we drove into Sierra Vista from Benson.  Thankfully it cleared on the road surfaces by the time that we headed back from this wonderful event.  Prayers please for the Keen family whose sister-in-law died this past weekend.  Prayers continuing for cancer victims Kandice Kartchner and Jeff Hovelson, both have cancer that is very difficult to treat or remove.  Also, please pray for Jeff Daniels, and his son, Jonah, who both have covid.  Please also pray for peace in the Ukraine and between Israel and the people of the Gaza Strip.  In both of these wars there are thousands who have been killed.




an open bible with a pen and notepad with an invitation to join a virtual bible study online
Meet us online for our virtual bible study

Today, we continue on in chapter 7 of the Gospel of Mark.  Remember that this entire chapter builds the division between Jesus and the religious authorities of His time.  The first passage that we will look at today is 7:5-8.  The issue that continues from 7:1-4 is all about the fact that the disciples do not follow the ritual cleansing of hands and all of the niceties of how hands ought to be ritually cleaned between courses and types of food.  The passage does not indicate that the disciple's hands are not physically washed.  So, Jesus turns to the prophet Isaiah 29:13, and tells the Pharisees and experts in the "law" that though they serve God with their lips, they really do not have Him in their hearts and minds. Jesus sees all of this body of man-made laws as superfluous (unnecessary for a person's relationship with God), and in the process of obedience to "man's rules and regulations" the true faith and obedience to God's Law (the ten commandments) has been abandoned.   I know you are asking how they are doing that, but we always must remember that Christ really did know what was in their hearts in their relationship with the Father in Heaven. 


In this passage Jesus accuses the Pharisees and Experts of hypocrisy.  The Greek word "hupokrites" has several ways in which we might approach its use in this setting.  First, it meant "One who answers".  Later it goes on to mean "One who is in a fixed conversation" which indicates that "One is an actor in a closed setting", and finally its meaning comes to be "One whose whole life is a piece of acting without any sincerity behind it at all".  Christ's statement is meant to be a high insult, the Pharisee or the expert might hate their fellow man or living with a heart of jealousy and concealed bitterness and pride, yet because that man keeps all of the rules created by man, he believes himself to be in a right relationship with God, and he IS NOT!  Our lives are not meant to be just outward actions that make others think that we are really in a good place with God.  In fact, if all we are really doing at church is form and ritual, without our heart and mind being healed from our sin, and we head off to vent our anger and bigotry, or our frustration over giving of our resources for the health of Christ's Church and its benevolence in the world, we are, as Paul would say, "most to be pitied".  However, this is not the only accusation that Christ levels at the leaders.  Jesus says that they have substituted the efforts of human ingenuity for the Laws of the Voice of God!  The Truth of religion will never come from people.  It will always come simply, listening, and then accepting, the Voice of God.


Chapter 7:9-13 finds us in yet another accusation of Christ against the leaders of the Temple and the synagogues.  The basic argument of Christ here is that some use the excuse of Jewish man-made laws to dismiss their responsibilities under the Law of God.  Much of this portion of Scripture depends on the use of the word "korban" or in the RSV, "corban".  Here it could mean a way of avoiding honoring one's parents, to care for them and hold them in esteem with available resources for their care.  In this time a person could dedicate everything to the Altar of God, or in the synagogue, and there by completely void their responsibility for their parents' lives.  Under the rules of "men" this was seen as being completely appropriate.  We all know about this.  In our world today we often see children continue to use their parents' wealth, but when the time comes for much needed care, there are no resources from the children to help out.  Honestly, don't we all plan hoping to be able to care for ourselves?  We do it mostly because we have little confidence either in our children's desire to help, or in their having resources with which to help.  In our lives, from generation to generation we very often find ourselves in the very same place as those who would make their resources corban for the purpose of avoiding God's Law, and do we ever remind our children that this God Law exists for them too?  The strange thing about the Scribes was that they said that any dedication of wealth was unbreakable even if a person changed their heart and mind in obedience to the fourth commandment.  So, the Scribal rules actually were intended to prevent that change of heart from being able to happen, especially when it came to money and resources.  The claim of God's Fourth Commandment was the claim of Love and Compassion.  Nothing that prevents us from living with the Love of Christ in our hearts and minds is worthy of our relationship and faith in God's promises in Jesus Christ.  When we are compassionate and caring, and not just for our parents, but for every person we meet, and some who we will never meet, we are alive knowing through faith, that is the very heart of God's Law.


Thanks for letting me share with you today.


In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

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