What Jesus Did! 'Ritually Clean?' — Mark 7:1-5

Thursday, April 25, 2024

One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don't eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to — such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony."

— Mark 7:1-5 NLT

Key Thought

Wouldn't it be nice if we could be spiritually clean simply by being physically and ritually clean? Unfortunately, we can't. Only Jesus can make us truly clean, spiritually clean. So while observing local customs about cleanliness can be helpful in winning our acceptance by others, only Jesus can win our hearts for God. Unfortunately, many folks simply take the physical shortcut hoping to achieve spiritual goals but come up empty because they have not fully submitted themselves to God.

Today's Prayer

O Lord, only you can make me clean. Please cleanse me — don't just forgive me, but make me new, dear Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Psalm 9:12-14
  • Proverbs 20:9
  • 1 John 1:7


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Illustration of Mark 7:1-5 NLT — "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.