“In vain, fruitlessly and without profit, do they worship Me, ordering and teaching to be obeyed as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men.” Mark 7:7 Amplified
As we continue to look at Jesus, as He walked here on earth so that we can be like Him, we must carefully look at His interaction with others as well as what He said. In our verse today the Pharisees and Scribes are questioning Him on the fact that His disciples didn’t follow the ceremonial ritual of cleansing before they ate. My initial thought is that it’s probably a good hygienic practice of washing your hands before you eat, but the Jewish ritual likely included following certain steps that were beyond what was needed.
Jesus’ reply doesn’t dispute their question as far as cleanliness goes, but he takes it a step further by showing them that the outside of our body isn’t what makes us right with God, it’s the inside. He tells them, “These people constantly honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me.” He goes on to tell them that they disregard the commandment of God, the first commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Instead they cling to the tradition of men and keep it carefully and faithfully. He specifically points to the tradition of the Corban, which is giving gifts and supporting the temple instead of taking the responsibility of caring for and honoring parents, which is the fifth commandment. He basically turned the tables on them, showing them that they’re accusing someone of not following God’s commands, which ceremonial washing wasn’t, yet they don’t honor their mother and father, which is one of the commandments.
Finally, Jesus told them, “There is not even one thing outside a man which by going into him can pollute and defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him and make him unhallowed and unclean.” Mark 7:15.
As believers we’re in a relationship with our Lord, we don’t have a religion. Religion is rules and regulations, do’s and don’t’s. Man, in his attempt to follow Jesus formed groups, some believed this, others believed that, denominations were formed because of this and here we are – divided. If we believe Jesus died for our sins we all have fellowship no matter what denomination we’re a part of. The bottom line though is our one on one relationship with God, for we all will stand before God naked and alone in the end. If we have Jesus living in our heart and seek to follow Him, we will live as He wants us to live, we will live to please Him, we will walk that out in our every day life and interaction with others. Then we will hear Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into your rest.”