“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, THEY FOUND FAULT” (Mark 7:1-2).
“And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him … And he charged them (the disciples), saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees …” (Mark 8:11, 15).
It is amazing how convicting it can be to read a few chapters from the Gospels. For the past 5-6 years, I have read anywhere from 2-5 chapters from one of the Gospels nearly every day. This morning, while reading Mark chapters 7-8 God spoke to me about so many different things. Here’s just a few:
- Never elevate my traditions over the truths of God’s word [Mark 7:1-13]
- The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart [Mark 7:14-23]
- Faith in a living Christ makes a difference no matter who you are or where you are from [Mark 7:24-37]
- Jesus is not only concerned for the souls of men, but he’s concerned about their physical needs too [Mark 8:1-10]
- It’s not simply the Pharisees that “didn’t get it,” even Jesus’ closest disciples “didn’t get it” [Mark 8:14-21, 31-34]
- Often even in our sincerity, we savor the things of men over the things of God [Mark 8:31-38]
- If we are going to be disciples of Jesus there is a cost to be paid [Mark 8:34-36]
Concerning the passages above, when it comes to the Pharisees, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is especially true when God reveals the Pharisee within our own heart!
After hearing of and/or seeing the many wonderful miracles of our Lord that are recorded in the previous two chapters (Mark 5-6), we find these words, “Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, THEY FOUND FAULT” (Mark 7:1-2).
So what exactly do we find these notable religious leaders doing upon their arrival from Jerusalem? One would think that they would be rejoicing in all the wonderful works of God that had taken place (hungry people being fed, sick people being healed, and even a dead girl being raised from the dead, not to mention Jesus walking on the water), but instead they find something wrong with the way Jesus’ disciples are eating without first washing their hands.
Really, they forgot to wash their hands! How big of a deal could that possibly be in light of all that Jesus had done up to this point?
The Pharisees and the other religious elite of the day, never cease to amaze and astound me, until of course, I BEGIN TO SEE THE PHARISEE THAT LURKS WITHIN MY OWN HEART!
Then to add insult to injury, immediately after Jesus performs yet another miracle-this time the feeding of 4,000 (Mark 8:1-10)-the Pharisees come forth and question whether or not he has heaven’s backing and blessing. Amazing!
But when you think about it, they weren’t really a whole lot different than us today. God moves in a special way. Needs are met, people are saved, lives are changed, and still we aren’t impressed!
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition …” (Mark 7:13).
May God help us to take the log out of our own eye before we attempt to take the speck of dust out of our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5) and to behold the wonderful things he is doing around us!