Preparing the Way of the Lord

Mark 7 – 8

Mark 7

The traditions of men versus the commandments of God

Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

This is a condemnation of anyone who exalts their own traditions above the Word of God, making God’s law of no effect while still paying lip-service to God. It is the same today with elders calling the Sabbath Day holy and then going out to pollute it. 

Matthew also writes about this incident:

Matthew 15:2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 15:4  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 15:5  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 15:6  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 

Today we do this very same thing and many other things [including polluting the Sabbath and Holy Days] we reject the scriptures for our own false traditions!.

15:7  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The ancient Mosaic Pharisees are misunderstood today as being zealous for the law of God; and because Jesus criticized the Pharisees it is wrongly thought that those who are zealous for God’s Word are Pharisaic.  Nothing could be further from the truth! 

The ancient Mosaic Pharisees were NOT zealous for the Word and law of God!  There were extremely zealous for their own traditions which made the law of God of no effect!  Just like today’s Ekklesia!  Today professing Christians call the zealous for God, Pharisees; when it is they themselves who are zealous for their own traditions ABOVE the Word and law of God: who are the real Pharisees!

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

How often have we given overlarge offerings and neglected the families that we have a Godly responsibility for?  How often do we pollute the weekly Sabbath and Holy Days according to our traditions and reject God’s Word on the subject?  And now we reject God’s promised increase in knowledge for the last days, rejecting the Biblical Calendar and the deeper meaning of the Biblical Festivals, to cleave to our false traditions!  

7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban [an offering to the church], that is to say, a gift, [he shall be free from helping his parents and family] by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Jesus uses the subject of unwashed hands and expands it to a spiritual principle, that it is the DEEDS of a man which defile his character. We are to be always totally faithful and obedient to all of the commandments and teachings of the scriptures; to be SPIRITUALLY CLEAN before God!

To cling to our own false traditions makes us UNCLEAN before God, and makes us idolaters for exalting our own ways above the ways and will of God.

7:14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

7:16 If any man have [the Spirit of God] ears to hear, let him [understand] hear.

Jesus then explains this parable to his disciples

7:17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Jesus then went to Tyre to rest, but was well known there and could not hide himself

7:24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

A humbling example of faith and humility

7:25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: 7:26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

How many among our proud people would have taken this apparent racial insult and responded in this humble manner? This is one of the most astonishing and outstanding examples of true humility before God! and it should make us all ashamed for our pride and self justifying against God by exalting our traditions above God’s Word.

7:28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. 7:29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. 7:30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Jesus then toured the Ten Cities of Decapolis and returned to Galilee

7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

The healing of the deaf mute

These healing’s of sight and of hearing were analogous of the healing of the spirit of people from sin; and the opening of the eyes to see spiritually and the ears to hear [understand] spiritual things, and opening of mouths to speak the wisdom of God, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the calling of God the Father.

7:32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 7:33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 7:34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

7:35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Mark 8

The miracle of the seven loaves

These were Middle Eastern bread pieces or what we might call pita or Greek style pieces of bread today.

Mark 8:1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 8:2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 8:3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

8:4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

8:5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

8:6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 8:7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8:8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

8:9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

After feeding the people, Christ encounters certain Pharisees who demand a sign from him. It is amazing that they were blind to all the signs already provided.

8:10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 8:11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

An account is also given in:

Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

Three complete days and three complete nights; not parts of days and nights.

Mark 8:13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

Jesus began to teach his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees which is self-justification and pride, the same leaven of sin which has overwhelmed today’s assemblies.

8:14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 8:16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

Jesus explains to the disciples that he was not speaking of the leaven of bread, but about the arrogant attitude of pride in our own false ways.

8:17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 8:19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 8:20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.

8:21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand? 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

We need our spiritual eyes to be healed:

Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees [stick figures] , walking. 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. 8:26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was.  He did not go around claiming titles, he demonstrated his calling by his actions, by his fruits; and only rarely spoke of himself as the Messiah.

8:27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 8:28 And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 8:29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 8:30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Jesus then began to teach them about his coming sufferings and sacrifice

8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Peter then declared, “not so, Lord,” as he could not at that time understand and was filled with love and loyalty to Jesus

8:32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

Christ then rebuked Peter, saying that Peter was thinking in physical terms and not understanding the mission and scriptures about Christ; and in so doing was rejecting the scriptures.

Even so we, being full of zeal for our own traditions, war against the scriptures and commandments of God.

8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Jesus commanded his disciples to deny themselves worldly things and to bear our burdens for our zeal for God, in order to faithfully FOLLOW HIM in living by every Word of God (Mat 4:4).

8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Those who seek to save their physical life or reduce trails in the flesh by turning away from the Word of God; WILL lose the gift of life eternal

8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose [give] his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

Those who seek the pleasures of this world or who seek after physical wealth and power; seek to grasp the wind and will lose all

8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Any person or group who moderates the Gospel into a business model, teaching what people want to hear to attract followers; anyone who is ashamed to STAND UP and DECLARE THE TRUTH: is a disgrace before God and has NOT valued his birthright and has no faith in the Mighty Power of Jesus Christ and God the Father to Save!

Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people [God’s called out] their transgression, and the [physical and spiritual Israel] house of Jacob their sins.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity

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