What Jesus Did! 'Spiritually Unclean!' — Mark 7:5-8

Friday, April 26, 2024

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

Jesus replied, "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'
"For you ignore God's law and substitute your own tradition."
— Mark 7:5-8 NLT

Key Thought

We try to be nice in today's politically correct environment. However, some truth — God's truth — is just simply the real truth. The Jewish leaders accused Jesus' disciples of being ritually unclean, but Jesus' reply was that they were spiritually unclean. They were hypocrites who followed their traditions rather than God's law. When people fake their religious devotion or when they bend God's word to justify the way they want to live, then it is hypocrisy no matter who they are. Jesus hates hypocrisy. When folks sink into hypocrisy, Jesus will not pretend with them that they are righteous. So what do we do with these harsh words from Jesus? First, we need to ask ourselves if we are guilty of the sin Jesus condemns! After all, in one way of viewing things, aren't we the religious ones today like the people questioning Jesus were then? If we are guilty, then let's change and put our lives where our mouths are! Second, we need not to be so bashful with each other when hypocrisy creeps into our lives. Lovingly and humbly, we need to help each other identify and correct any hypocrisy. Hypocrisy destroys our hearts and ruins the influence of Jesus' people on the world!

Today's Prayer

O God, always righteous and yet boundlessly merciful, please forgive me. I confess that I have sometimes sinned because I'm weak and have stumbled. There have been times when I've criticized others for their sin, yet allowed myself to do what I know was not right. Correct me gently and humble me tenderly so I can serve you without hypocrisy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ezekiel 14:10
  • Mark 12:13-17
  • 1 Peter 2:1


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Illustration of Mark 7:5-8 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.