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Mark - Chapter 07

Study Bible Notes

Mark 7:1-13 The Pharisees and some scribes noted that the disciples ate with unwashed hands. (Supposed to be washed in a very specific way “traditions” according to the added laws by the Pharisees). They asked Jesus why His disciples did not follow the traditions. Jesus called them hypocrites and cited Isaiah that says how Israel honors God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him for teach doctrines made up by men. He told them that in order to uphold their traditions, they have to first disregard the laws of God to do it. Jesus cited an example where a child can be put to death for dishonoring their father and mother. One way to dishonor a parent is not to provide for them in their old age. The Pharisees stated that the law can be bypassed if the child declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”) by giving their money to the temple which alleviates the child for having to care for their parents, if for some reason like maybe a grudge or they hate their parents. When a person’s money is declared Corban, his possessions could not be used for anything but service to God

An example of ceremonial hand washing: The ceremony involved someone pouring water out of a jar onto another’s hands, whose fingers must be pointing up. As long as the water dripped off at the wrist, the person could proceed to the next step. He then had water poured over both hands with the fingers pointing down. Then each hand was to be rubbed with the fist of the other hand.

Notes: It is evident that many Pharisees and scribes merely intend to convict Jesus of breaking the written Law of Moses and thus to discredit his authority with the people.

Mark 7:14-23 Jesus then spoke to the people and said that it isn’t what goes into a person that defiles them, but what comes out of person, that being things said or done from their hearts. The people did not understand, nor did the disciples for they asked Jesus the meaning of the parable. Jesus explained that what comes out of the heart are evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.

Notes: Throughout Scripture, the heart refers to the center of one’s being, including the mind, emotions, and will. Mark notes that Jesus’ teaching, in essence, declared all foods clean. The Mosaic ceremonial laws distinguished between “clean” and “unclean” foods. Their purpose was to instill an awareness of God’s holiness and of the reality of sin as a barrier to fellowship with God. But once defilement of the heart is thoroughly removed and full fellowship with God becomes a reality (through the atoning death of Jesus), the ceremonial laws have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer required.

Mark 7:24-30 Jesus tried to enter a home secretly in the region of Tyre and Sidon, but a woman that had a demon possessed daughter heard of Jesus being there, and so she came to him looking for a healing for her daughter by falling at His feet. BUT, she was a Gentile. Jesus said that He came for his own people (Jews) and they are to receive His blessings first. Jesus questioned her whether it was right to take what was for the Jews (bread) and give it instead to the dogs (Gentiles), testing her face. The woman agreed with Jesus, but said that even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. Jesus was happy with her faith and healed her daughter.

Notes: Jesus travels to a Hellenistic Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon where he is already known (esp. among its resettled Jewish residents; cf. 3:8). Jesus is called first to bring the news of God’s kingdom to the people of Israel. However, he foresees a later mission to the Gentiles through his disciples. Elijah had also aided a non-Jewish woman in this area. Jesus’ noncommittal response is surprising and may seem offensive. He gives three comparisons: bread/his message; children/the Jewish people; and dogs/Gentiles. First holds out the hope, however, that Gentiles will also become the recipients of God’s grace. This picture indicates that the “dogs” (Gentiles) had a place in the household of God, but not the prominent one. The woman’s response to Jesus’ surprising statement is both humble and persistent.

Mark 7:31-37 Jesus then returned to the region of Decapolis by the Sea of Galilee. Some Jews brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. They begged Jesus to heal him. Privately, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, touched the man’s tongue with His spit. Jesus sighed, looked up to Heaven, and said, “Be opened.” The man’s ears and speech were made normal. Jesus charged them not to tell anyone, but they didn’t listen and the miracle was spread far and wide. All the people were astonished at Jesus ability to heal, even those that are deaf and mute.

Notes: Jesus preached far and wide to Galilean and Judean Jews, as well as to the remnant people of Israel who by this time had resettled in the Hellenistic regions of Tyre, Sidon, and the Decapolis. Jesus uses physical means to heal the man. The healing not only demonstrates Jesus’ power; it also allows him to confront his disciples by word and deed with the problem of spiritual deafness and blindness. Jesus sighed over the hard-heartedness and physical weaknesses that had arisen on account of mankind’s fall.

put his fingers into his ears. Because the man could not hear, Jesus used his own form of sign language to tell him that he was about to heal the man’s deafness. after spitting touched his tongue. Also a form of sign language in which Jesus offered the man hope for a restored speech.


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