Thursday, June 11, 2009

MkITN VII, Verses 1 - 23

1. Now the Pharisees, along with some other religious leaders and scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around Him.

2. And, seeing everything in their world from a legalistic perspective, they were keenly aware that some of His disciples seemed to have no apparent regard for the observance of ceremony, specifically that of ritual washings before meals.

3. The Pharisees, in keeping with strict, Jewish legal tradition, do not eat unless they first wash their hands diligently...up to the elbow...with clenched fist. This practice is observed merely for ceremonial reasons, but to them, the careful and faithful adherence to doing it just right is of the utmost importance, and is to be taken very seriously.

4. Furthermore, when they come from the marketplace, they will not eat until they completely purify themselves according to the Law. And there are also many other traditions having to do with washing and rules handed down to them over the centuries...which they honor faithfully, and without question, such as the scouring of every cup and wooden pitcher and widemouthed jug, along with every utensil of copper.

5. So the Pharisees and Scribes, unable to imagine a world without all these rules to keep, kept asking Jesus, "Why do Your disciples flout the rules...the hallowed traditions handed down to us by the forefathers? How can they eat their food with hands unwashed and ceremonially not purified?"

6. But He said to them, "The prophet Isaiah hit the nail on the head about frauds like you...pretenders and hypocrites...and so it is written: 'These people make such a big deal out of doing and saying the right thing, supposedly to honor Me with their lips...but, in reality, nothing they do is motivated from the heart, and so their hearts are actually very far away and distant from Me.

7. Their so-called worship of Me is pointless and fruitless, because their top priority is teaching the commandments and precepts of men, demanding that they be obeyed as if they were the doctrines of God.'

8. In fact, you disregard and dispense with the actual commandments of God...the things that really matter to Him...and hold on for dear life to the empty traditions of men, keeping them carefully and faithfully, as if they really make any difference in the big picture."
9. And He went on to say to them, "You've really developed a sophisticated system of keep the people under your authority constantly uneasy about their approval rating with God, and in so doing have guaranteed that you'll always have a place of importance in this society. Your desire for significance, or just simple job security, has caused you to reject, thwart, and nullify the commandment of God...and so you place inappropriate importance on keeping your tradition and your own human regulations!

10. For example, Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother', and, 'He who curses, reviles, or mistreats his father or mother is worthy of death!'

11. But you have devised a legal loophole, saying, 'A man is exempt from having to provide for his parents in their old age if he tells his father or his mother that the money he would have used for their care and upkeep is "Corban", meaning that it is a gift already designated for and given as an offering to God'. And then this money that is freed up is, in essence, coming to you.

12. In doing this you no longer are permitting a man to do anything for his father or mother, but are letting him off the hook from his rightful responsibilities.

13. This little trick nullifies and makes void the purpose of the commandment, and the enforcing of it enables the traditions of men to make the very Word of God completely impotent and ineffective. And this is just one of many things like this that you are doing all the time."
14. Then He called the people who were in close proximity to Himself again and said to them, "I want you to listen to Me...every one of you...and I want you to understand what I say.

15. All this ceremonial cleansing that the religious leaders think is so vital is harmless in and of itself...but you should all know that there is not one thing from the outside world, which by going into a man or a woman, can pollute and defile him or her. It's the things which come out of a person...the fruit of the internal world...which have the potential to defile him/her and make him/her unhallowed and unclean!

16. If any of you can hear Me, then listen to what I'm saying...really listen with perception and comprehension!"

17. After this He left the crowd and went into the house where He was staying, and once inside, His disciples began asking Him about the illustration He had used.

18. And He said to them, "Please tell Me that you're not so unintelligent and dull of hearing that you don't understand this simple premise! Just think about it...whatever goes into a person from the outside cannot possibly make him or her filthy or unclean,

19. Since it doesn't go to his heart. It's the heart that determines the real standard of cleanliness in a person, so the heart is all that ultimately matters. Don't you realize that whatever is physically ingested automatically goes toward a person's digestive tract, and then is inevitably eliminated, passing into the place designed to receive waste?" And with this straightforward reference to human biology, He made and declared all foods to be ceremonially judging everything edible as being kosher, He abolished the ceremonial distinctions of the limited Levitical Law.
20. And He reiterated His point, saying, "It's what comes out of a person that determines what makes him or her unclean, or renders him/her unhallowed.

21. Instead of worrying about filtering or washing what comes in from the outside, you should be concerned with sanitizing what comes out of your internal world. For from within that place...that is, out of the heart...can come base and destructive thoughts, sexual dysfunction, stealing, murder, adultery,

22. Jealousy, endangerment to others, deceit, indecent conduct, obsession with what others have, slander, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness, pride, recklessness, thoughtlessness, and so on.

23. All these evil purposes and desires can originate from deep within an individual, and these are the things that can make a person truly unclean."


SCRIBE said...

Wow! Such hypocrisy in their motives, for they actually believe that which they do is unto and of God. Yet, Christ set them straight with is response to their inquiries.

I tell my kids all the time that it is not as important what you do as it is the MOTIVE behind doing it. When we do the right thing simply because it is right, even when nobody else is around to see us, then we are doing these things unto God with a pure heart. We must be ever so careful as to not practice "habitual rituals" in our own lives, and when we are questioned as to why we do things the way that we do, we should be able to answer with all confidence and knowing that our hearts and intentions were right, even if we did miss the mark by living according to the traditions of man / humanity.

As well, if we cannot give an answer as to why we do things a certain way, then perhaps either we do not know ourselves, we may only be doing what we have been taught without even thinking about it, and moreover examine ourselves and be willing to ask ourselves and God Almighty the difficult questions, as to not be ensnared by works of the flesh and religious doctrine. For it is not the truth that sets the captive free, it is the Divine TRUTH that we hear, absorb, accept, and incorporate into our own lives which brings about the necessary changes- by first changing our minds. And wherever the mind goes and whatever we meditate upon takes root in our hearts, thus producing changes in speech and actions. The truth that we ACCEPT and EMBRACE from God and those covenant friends and family that HE places around us for His Purposes has the power of bringing about true repentance, liberation, and Freedom in the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah for the breaking down of strongholds and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God- regardless of how spiritual it all may seem. For when we lack LOVE for others and the grace to want to understand others, whether we truly understand them or not, then are not all those other things meaningless?

Iris said...

In quest to find answers of why some seasons are joyful… some sorrowful… some which take our breath away… and some that leave us in tears… some that make us laugh until our sides ache… some where we feel an overwhelming abundance of peace… and some that leave us with just a sigh…

A sigh… It’s a mysterious emotion… that sometimes come from the depths of one’s soul and felt through every fiber it’s being… A pause in a moment… a look into the heavens… and with a breath of air… comes a sigh… From the depths of one’s being comes a rush of emotion that says more than words.

Then I ponder the times God sighed… as odd as that seems… He did… read it in Mark 7:31-37. Jesus is presented with a man who is deaf with a speech impediment, He looked this man in the face… probably explaining what he was going to do with gestures’… He spat and touched the man‘s tongue, telling him whatever restricted his speech was about to be removed… He touched his ears. They for the first time were about to hear…. But… before the man said a word or heard a sound, Jesus did something I never would have anticipated…

He sighed…

Sigh… The moment seems out of place… God sighs?... God is one who commands… One who weeps… One who raises the dead with a command or a word spoken to create the universe…But a God who sighs???

I sighed today when my 13 year old son flew to another country possibly to live.

I sighed when ministering to a girl who had been beaten by her boyfriend moments before, and God told me to give her my watch and shoes (which was the only pair I brought on my trip).

I sighed when I listen to the sobs of my other son who will miss is only brother and his father as the venture in another land.

I sighed when someone who I love dearly and always will… decided to take another path that was not one I could walk.

No doubt I have done my share of sighing lately.

I’m sure I’m not the only one…. I’m sure if you have teenagers… you’ve sighed…

If you’ve been hurt by a loved one… you’ve sighed…

If you’ve had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected… you’ve been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh.

I realize there exist a sigh of relief, a sigh of expectancy, and even a sigh of joy. But that isn’t the sigh I am speaking of or described in Mark 7. The sigh is one that is a hybrid of frustration and sadness. It lies somewhere between a fit of anger and a burst of tears.

Paul said…Man was not created to be separated from his creator; hence he sighs, longing to see his existence through the tree of life. The creation was never intended to know good and evil; hence she sighs, yearning for the Garden. And conversations with God were never intended to depend on a translator; hence the Spirit groans on our behalf, looking to a day when all of creation will commune with God as once was before the commencement of time. (2 Cor. 5: 2-7, Romans 8:22-27).

All these sighs come for the same emotion, recognition of pain that was never intended, or of hope differed.

And when Jesus looked into the deaf and dumb mans eyes, the only appropriate thing to do was sigh. “It was never intended to be this way,” the sigh said. “Your ears weren’t made to be deaf; your tongue wasn’t made to be silent.” The imbalance of it all could only bring a sigh.

So, I found a place for my sigh. You might think it strange, but I placed it beside the word comfort, for in an indirect way, my sigh of frustration and or pain becomes the place where God comforts. In my travail lies the hope and reassurance of God. When I sigh, I believe God sighs… and says “I know… I know your pain… I am hear… never leaving… ever loving.” Then he takes me by the hand and leads me to a place where the flames of the swords still light the way… and there beneath the Tree of Life I am comforted… It is there where all that was never intended to be is transformed into a place where good and evil no longer reside… where there is the fullness of love… where all that is purposed to be is known and seen.


Erik said...

Excellent flow of The Spirit in MkITN, Bishop.

God’s word into our Spirit and through the flesh of each other and The Word made flesh is reality, immune from human regulations.

Some human regulations have value when kept in perspective, such as washing hands has value before eating, however, that does not or should not keep one from eating. Nothing from the outside can ever defile Our Spirit.

9. And He went on to say to them, "You've really developed a sophisticated system of keep the people under your authority constantly uneasy about their approval rating with God, and in so doing have guaranteed that you'll always have a place of importance in this society. Your desire for significance, or just simple job security, has caused you to reject, thwart, and nullify the commandment of God...and so you place inappropriate importance on keeping your tradition and your own human regulations!

The Pharisees were average people who found their strength in ceremony and social stature. Very common. Many choose form over function. They, and those today who support form over function in faith can damage without understanding. Generally they believe from their paradigm, (that one from the ‘other’ tree) they need to judge to see themselves. The Tree of Life has no such necessity, the fruit simply is, without attention to the knowledge of good and evil.

The fruit from the Tree of Life is Love that extends through and energizes EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, even the human regulation worshiping Pharisees.

In worshiping human regulations, those who do, dilute the Word of God in their own lives. In the end, it is OK, because The Tree of Life is the beginning and the end, and really everything in between.

In truth, human regulations and ceremony although entertaining and provide convenience are impotent and ineffective in reality like Levitical Law.

One of the great aspects of CITN is the acceptance of each person, real people with all that comes with them, experiencing God in the real world.

CITN is fruit from the Tree of Life, transforming knowledge of good and evil and its fruit judgment into Love, as so aptly expressed in MkITN and by Iris.

Northern Light said...

Sometimes the perspectives and outpouring of words from bloggers leaves me speechless, but wide-eyed and absorbing like a sponge. That's what the last several posts have been like for me; reading them, absorbing them, re-reading.
Love it!


Larry Usher said...


I hope you will allow me the indulgence of posting this word given to me during last night's service as it is off topic:

I just had this very strong sense of the term "Body Language" and that it has come to mean the language of the "unspoken", that which we do without word, perhaps without even thinking or trying.
The spoken word, we know, is very important, but they say that the unspoken language of facial expressions, touch, looks of the eyes, attitudes of the body are even more crucial in conveying a message.
"Body" language, or language of the Body of Christ, also goes well beyond the spoken word into the realms of all the characteristics of God which are expressed through moment-by-moment obedience to that "Still Small Voice".
The attitudes of joy, peace, patience, humility and service can all be performed without words, as can the act of hugging, a touch on the arm or a pat on the back; when inspired by love, these actions carry with them the very Spirit of Christ.
The Body is never separated from the Head-therefore this stream of ministry to the Body is especially acute in those that understand this fact: that Christ is IN ALL and the same Spirit DWELLS IN us. Those that are mature in the Lord will find the connectors that need to be joined to strengthen the weaker members(we become all things to men) until all come into the full stature of The Christ-all strong, all unique, all vital. All Body parts NEEDED BY the Head- all Body parts needful OF the Head, all Body need by each other.
This language, this connectibility are fired exponentially by Love as only the Head can flow to the Body. Love NEEDS to connect, love is heightened by connection, wholeness comes through connection, wisdom comes through connection, fear is overcome through connection, God is revealed through thees connections. You will know God by their love for one another.

This is just a touch of the mindset God dropped in me-I'll have to continue musing on it.

Selfishness only finds a way to broadcast itself, win the arguement and lord itself over someone like the tinkling brass you spoke of a few weeks ago!

Blessings and COMMUNE-ication to all(think of the intimacy that word implies!)


Donald said...

I had a run-in with one of these guys just this week at work.
Everything MUST be done strictly by the letter of the law. I was told that if a person did not follow a certain set of instructions that they would burn in hell forever.
I asked what happens to people in parts of the world that have never heard of Jesus or this set of instructions. He said that they would burn forever.
I told him that he could have that god, that I didn't want to have anything to do with a tyrant like that.
So many people really don't get it. It didn't seem to bother the guy at all that he believed that the majority of mankind would burn in hell. He actually just shrugged his shoulders and said that's the way it is because that's what the Bible said so there was no sense in worrying about it.

Donald said...

But to get back on track, verses 1-23 are so, so, so real sounding!

Northern Light said...

This morning, more of the same....Larry......Awesome. I think I'm just gonna read and absorb this time.....this is working out wonderfully for me !

Northern Light

Avatar said...

In the midwest, kids used to play under the quilts that their moms gathered together to work on...and listen to their discussions (okay, probably gossip, too, but anyway)...listening here feels like that...everyone stitching their piece.

The pics: perfect! The Pharisee makes me want to hide under the quilt and go the way that Jesus is pointing!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

He looks like Anthony Quinn...

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

And thanks for noticing that they are both pointing...that was intentional...

karl said...

Wow, hits home a lot...with reminders of "laws" that had been in my life-some really strict, thinking that I needed to do them unto God...but I WAS miserable, the focus going into the rules and eventually thinking I was sinning by NOT DOING those work oriented, and so wasteful!

God has delivered me and continues to do so, into realizing more freedoms in Him that I have and to walk in those and not being bound. Treading a New path, although the old one was familiar for so long,


Arise and shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord HAS RISEN upon you.

word ver: cohor
like pharasaical cohorts.

Ebony said...

Hello BITN family. Sorry to be gone so long. Seeking another degree is a big undertaking. But I had to comment on how great MkITN is sounding. Plus, to thank you Bishop for the teaching on grace and mercy. Someone I love very much is in a personal storm that is a little bit Job and a little bit gesthemene.

Ebony said...

Conventional widsom and other denominations would say these tragedies were the result of a generational curse and "deliverance" was his only hope, even if that was in the cards, but thanks to this ministry I can give him a hug, remind him of the goodness of God-even in the storms-and tell him "after this"

Izumi/JOY said...

What I appreciate about v. 2 is its absurdity. While it's necessary to wash hands before meal preparation, and consumption, I can imagine the eye rolling amongst the disciples.

Remember 41 of the last chapter. After giving thanks to Abba, Jesus broke the bread. And, kept on breaking it. And, broke it some more. A bunch of times. (can time be measured in bunches, I wonder.) Anyway, you know what I mean. Repeatedly.

Then, He passed the bread to the disciples. Likewise, went the two fish.

Nowhere did I notice, "Hey ya'll. Take five. Be right back - just gotta scour my hands."

Or, "Anybody bring a Brillo pad? Pumice stone? Purell?"

Wonder if the disciples guffawed (did they do that back then? In that part of the world, I mean.)

Plus, it would be cool if the sons of thunder did that when the Pharisees hit the marketplace circuit.

The "up to the elbow, clenched fist" hand washing method - did the disciples nudge shoulders when they watched that?

C'mon, they'd just been on a boat trip where the sails were pretty near wrapped around their ankles and other body parts. What'd they care about wrist splashing in basins of water?

V. 11 - I've never seen that word ("Corban") before. Love the explanation of it.

Thanks, Bish. I'm enjoying studying MkITN. So fun!

Anonymous said...

14. Then He called the people who were in close proximity to Himself again and said to them, "I want you to listen to Me...every one of you...and I want you to understand what I say.

15. All this ceremonial cleansing that the religious leaders think is so vital is harmless in and of itself...but you should all know that there is not one thing from the outside world, which by going into a man or a woman, can pollute and defile him or her. It's the things which come out of a person...the fruit of the internal world...which have the potential to defile him/her and make him/her unhallowed and unclean!

These are consistent truths about the power of our words. It is what comes out of us that tells the world who we are and what our intentions for accomplishing good is. The following actions may be great or small but the words are the from the source, our heart.

Cleansing has its place, I mean who would want a surgeon in their body with dirty hands, but clean or dirty I would prefer a surgeon who believed in their power to heal. The most successful of physicians are those who have confidence in their abilities regardless of their humanity. Those who live by the law die by the law and others are never the better for it but those who walk by faith, well what else is there to say.

Izumi/JOY said...

Amen, Anon @ 10:43.

But, those who walk by faith
Well what else is there to say?


Says it all when the whole day's called

Makes streams called Anyway!

Artisians smile through their sweaty trail trials

With picks they dig through stone walls

Ah, well!
Sweet well!

Refresh us anew
Whatcha say?

Izumi/JOY said...

I like how the pic at v. 14 reminds me of a sand dollar.

Pic and text balance one another, and I like that, too.

I just read that the sand dollar's rigid skeleton is called a "test".

That the pic is positioned before v. 15's, "the fruit of the internal world" seems harmonic.

There are several significant words after the elipsis. But, glancing at Jesus before the sand dollar, allows me to see the message, "which have the potential..." differently.