Going Deeper 08.27.2021

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 14... Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Humans not only have a nature which moves them to run after all sorts of false gods, even when it comes to seeking the true God we often run in the wrong ways/directions.  Yes, the wickedness which comes from within in all sorts of forms is a big, big problem, but an equally big problem is what we do with it... if and when we recognize it.  

Those receiving this tongue lashing from Jesus had totally lost their way.  They practiced and taught a religion which was all about seeking to fulfill the laws of God through a very convoluted system of do and don'ts.  Their answer to sin was obedience, and their motives for obeying were way off course.  And as a result, they concluded that this rule-breaking Messiah want-to-be was an enemy.

Sin, of course, is very real, and the "evil things" which come from within have defiled every son and daughter of Adam.  The answer to sin is to release it into the hands of our Creator Abba, who Son Jesus took upon Himself our sin, our punishment, our death.  It is only through grace, not through obedience to the Law, that we are saved.

Obedience then follows as a fruit of faith.  As beloved children of God, we love our Abba and our Savior, and we seek to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live lives which increasingly reflect the image of God in which we were created.  The motive is love.

With You in His Love,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"