And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” Mark 7:6-13

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

It was pointed out yesterday that the mission of Christ’s kingdom had much to do with his revealing who he was as he came up against and exposed what wasn’t his kingdom. In yesterday’s passage we saw an instance when Jesus came up against the Pharisees and scribes. We saw that they had asked Jesus this question, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” We looked at a closely related passage from the Gospel of Matthew that helped us with the answer to this question. We saw Jesus expose the “tradition of the elders” for not being what his kingdom was all about. Jesus’ kingdom emphasizes the heart, while the tradition of the elders emphasizes outward appearance. 

In today’s passage, Jesus thoroughly exposes the fallacy of a religious system that emphasizes outward appearance. Jesus says, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.” When we slip into “talk” over “walk,” our hearts move further and further away from the Lord. The further our hearts get from the Lord, the more of a mess we become on the inside. The more of a mess we become on the inside, the more we try to cover it up through outward appearance. The more outward appearance takes over, the more we value and practice human religious traditions that neglect and invalidate the Word of God. Jesus shows this to be the case of the religious people he is up against. To show this, Jesus uses the example of adult children being responsible for their elderly parents. Here is an explanation of what these religious people had done with this Biblical responsibility:

“Some of the Jews, however, had concocted a scheme to avoid parental responsibility. They would designate certain of their financial resources as “corban.” The Greek word korban is related to the term korbanas, signifying the “temple treasury.” In Jewish practice, therefore, the word “corban” had been coined as a sort of “vow” term. According to the prevailing tradition, one could designate his financial resources as “corban,” which, practically speaking, was a way of “tagging” them, suggesting, “this belongs to God,” and thus was not to be used for personal interests.” 

Talk about being a mess on the inside. They had become so hard-hearted that they had come up with a man-made religious practice that officially allowed them to neglect their needy elderly parents. Jesus ends his amazing answer to the original question the Pharisees and scribes had asked with this penetrating indictment, “and you do many things such as that.”

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, I do not want to be one who neglects my heart, sidesteps your Word, and plays religious games. So, here is my heart. Draw me near. Speak to me. Show me anything and everything about me that is not of your kingdom. Teach me more and about yourself and your true and glorious kingdom. I bow in awe, surrender, worship, and devotion. Amen!