READ: Mark 7

BACKGROUND: By Verse –
3 – The traditions of the Elders was the oral history handed down from the respected rabbis of the past.
5 – Impure hands doesn’t mean dirty hands but, instead, hands that hadn’t been washed according to all the rules of the elders.
8 – Jesus is criticizing the all of the reinterpretation of the Law by the Pharisees and all of the extra laws that they added and then treated as more authoritative than the OT.
11 – Corban is a gift to God. If a son designated an amount as Corban then they said he didn’t have to take care of his parents anymore.
18 – Jesus is saying that it doesn’t matter what we eat or what little insignificant rules we follow. What matters is the things that come out of us – the things that reflect our hearts.
27 – Jesus isn’t being a jerk here. He is making a point. That his mission is first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.

THINK:  I recently came across a tweet from Erwin McManus, one of my favorite pastors, which said, “Doing something right is more important than doing nothing wrong.” I think that sometimes it’s really easy for us, as Christians, to get really caught up in the belief that being a Christ-follower is about following a million little rules so that we never mess up or do anything wrong. And when we think this way it can lead to a lot of self-righteousness and pride. We begin to pat ourselves on the back because of how ridiculously good we are. “I haven’t said a swear word in like 5 days. I am so awesome.” “I only listened to Christian radio this week. Not like those other sinners.” “I didn’t say anything mean to that weird kid at lunch…I mean, I didn’t say anything to him but I’m better than everybody else because I didn’t say anything mean.”

We’ve all been there. But here’s the deal: when we do that we miss out on the big idea of faith! It isn’t about following a bunch of little rules – many of which we made up on our own so that we could feel super righteous even though they’re not in the Bible anywhere. It’s about having a relationship with God and actively living our lives for him. It’s about loving God and reflecting that love to those around us. Doing something right is more important than doing nothing wrong!

This doesn’t minimize sin – not by any means. And it doesn’t mean that doing wrong things is okay or no big deal. God makes it clear that sin is a huge deal. But the heart of faith isn’t trying to follow an impossible number of little rules to earn our way to heaven and feel better than everyone else. The idea is to have a relationship with God that is so passionate – and defines who you are so powerfully – that you actively live for him and change the world by doing so.

The Pharisees missed this. They were so focused on the little things that they missed the big thing. Don’t follow in their footsteps.

PRAY:  Thank God for forgiving you even though you’ve done nothing to deserve it. Ask him to help you commit your life to a passionate pursuit of him rather than an oppressive pursuit of self-righteousness.

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