Twelve apostles sent out; John the Baptist beheaded; 5,000 fed; Jesus walking on the sea; Jesus heals many.
Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Mark 7:7).
The Pharisees were the largest religious group of their day and firmly proclaimed their belief in Scriptures, but Jesus exposed their hypocrisy. He pointed out that their error was even more serious than equal acceptance: Ye reject the Commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (7:9). And still worse: Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition (7:13). For instance, the Commandment of God taught the necessity of mercy, loving one's enemies, and purifying the heart from worldly desires and sinful ambitions. But instead of realizing the need of their heart being right with God, the Pharisees were satisfied with external observances.
Jesus said: Woe unto you . . . hypocrites! For ye pay tithe . . . and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Matt. 23:23).
Today none goes by the name of Pharisee, but many worshipers still ignore the fact that our Lord prescribed a far higher standard than the outward observance of the Law for His followers, saying: Ye have heard . . . Thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (5:27-28).
We deceive ourselves if we believe there is no harm in thinking sinful thoughts so long as they are never expressed. Even in the Old Testament we read: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). As we yield to His will, as revealed in His Word, our lives will be a practical, daily expression of the indwelling Christ.
The Christian is made pure in heart as the Holy Spirit imparts His holy nature at conversion and through a daily denying of self — a sincere confession of our faults, failures, and sin.
It includes genuine motives, intentions, and affections to please the Lord. A pure heart is one which immediately checks evil thoughts and lustful desires. It is one that mourns over pride, discontent, and coldness — content with nothing less than inward godliness and holiness. Those who are pure in heart . . . shall see God and are changed . . . from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (Matt. 5:8; II Cor. 3:18).
Thought for Today:
Our daily actions, attitudes, and speech reveal what we meditate on.
For Mark 7:6-7: See Is. 29:13. Mark 7:10: See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16.
6:25 charger, a large dish; 7:19 purging all meats, declaring all food ceremonially clean.
Prayer Suggestion: Prayer with an upright spirit and heart is a delight to God (Prov. 15:8).
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 139:7-8