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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Mark 7

 

 

Introduction

Jesus Did All Things Well

- Mark Seven -

Jesus was in constant conflict with Jewish traditions. He is careful to explain what defiles a person and what does not defile. He shows that what a person eats is not nearly as important as what he thinks. The Pharisees were concerned because Jesus" disciples failed to wash their hands in a ceremonial way before eating and Jesus did nothing about it. They had violated Jewish tradition. Jesus pointed out that they were putting human tradition ahead of the commandments of God. The doctrines of men took their hearts far from God and made their worship void. The doctrines of men also make worship vain today!

A Syrophenician woman had a young daughter that was possessed by an unclean spirit. She heard Jesus and came and fell at His feet asking for help. The fact that the woman believed that everyone needed Jesus and could benefit from His help prompted the Lord to heal her child. Jesus also healed a man that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. He was healed completely, both in hearing and in speaking.


Verses 1-13

Human traditions and the commandments of men - Mark 7:1-13 : The Scribes and the Pharisees were constant foes of Jesus. Pharisees were a strict religious sect of the Jews. The Scribes copied and taught the Law of Moses.

These people constantly watched for something to accuse Jesus of. Their present complaint was that Jesus" disciples did not honor the custom of the ceremonial washing of hands before eating. This was not just ordinary hand washing for sanitary purposes. This was a tradition or custom handed down to them by their fore-fathers. There were many oral, man-made laws handed down to them that the Pharisees felt that they should observe. These included the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels and of tables in some ceremonial way.

The Pharisees and Scribes" criticism was based on the fact that the disciples of Jesus disregarded traditions handed down by the fore-fathers. They were more concerned about tradition than truth. Jesus applied Isaiah"s prophecy to these people. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men" (Isaiah 29:13) Jesus called them hypocrites! Worship based on the commandments of men is vain. They also found ways to nullify God"s commandments by their traditions. Jesus illustrated this by showing that instead of taking care of their age able parents they would say it is Corban, that is, is a gift offered to God. They then felt secure in disobeying divine Law because of human tradition.


Verses 14-23

What really defiles a person - Mark 7:14-23 : The desire of Jesus was that the people would listen to and understand His teaching. The thing that defiles a person is not some dirt on their hands or failing to follow some ceremonial washing. It is what comes out of a man that defiles him or makes him unclean. Jesus wanted each person to hear the truth, learn that message and conform their life thereto.

In the house, Jesus" disciples asked for an explanation of the parable. He asked them if they did not understand that what entered a man from the outside can not make him unclean. The things that enter a man from the outside do not reach his heart. They are eliminated from the body along with other waste matter. By these words Jesus pronounced all foods clean thus showing that the ceremonial distinctions concerning food in the Levitical Law would end. (Leviticus 11) The things that defile a man are the things that come from his heart: things like evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. These defile because they come from a corrupt heart and produce an evil life.


Verses 24-30

The Syrophenician woman's faith - Mark 7:24-30 : Jesus left the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee and journeyed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He went into a house but it was impossible to be hidden from public notice. A Gentile woman, a Syrophenician lady came and fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him repeatedly to heal her young, demon possessed daughter. Jesus responded to this woman in what sounds like a harsh response. He said, "Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children"s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs."

The woman did not resent what the Lord said. Her reply was "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat the little children"s scraps of food." She would be more than willing to accept the healing of her daughter as crumbs and leave the bulk of the Lord"s teaching and work for the Jews. What the woman said pleased the Lord and He assured her that her daughter had been healed permanently. Matthew said the girl had been "grievously vexed" by the demon. (Matthew 15:22) When the mother returned home she found the girl just as the Lord had said. The demon was gone out and the girl was lying on a bed or couch.


Verses 31-37

Jesus Healed a Deaf Man - Mark 7:31-37 : Soon after the events with the Syrophenician woman Jesus went to the ten city region of Decapolis on the east side of the Jordan. There a deaf man was brought to Him. The man also had difficulty speaking. Often those that have never heard speech have problems trying to speak clearly. They desired that Jesus would put His hands on this man and heal him. In a most unusual moment Jesus took the man aside from the crowd. He put His fingers into the man"s ears and spat and touched his tongue. He looked up to heaven and said, "Ephphatha," which means, "be opened!" Jesus could have healed the man in any way He saw fit but in this case He did chose to touch him.

When Jesus said "Ephphatha," which means, "be opened," the result was immediate. Jesus looked up to God in heaven because they always work as partners. The Bible says, "His ears were opened, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak distinctly and as he should." (Mark 7:35) Jesus commanded them to tell no man because He did not want them thinking that He was doing miracles just to become famous. His desire was to convince people that He is the Son of God. But the more He commanded them not to tell anyone, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astonished at Jesus. They said, "He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak." The proof that Jesus did all things well was in the fact that here is this man that they all were aquatinted with and now he can both hear and speak clearly.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Mark 7:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/mark-7.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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