Mark 7:14-23 – What Defiles a Person

Christian MölkMark Leave a Comment

Mark 7:15

  1. The Pharisees believed that food became ceremonially unclean if eaten with unclean hands. Jesus now goes against this view and explains to his audience that food cannot defile a person, whether or not they have washed their hands.
  2. Jesus explains to his disciples that uncleanness comes from the heart instead.
    1. A person becomes unclean if what Jesus describes emanates from his heart, regardless of whether all the ceremonial purity regulations have been followed.

Mark 7:19

  1. There is disagreement as to whether Jesus here ends the (kosher) law that God gave to the people of Israel regarding what food they could eat (Leviticus 11).
    1. From the context, it seems that Jesus is not talking about whether the people of Israel are now allowed to eat all food, but rather is stating that the food that the people of Israel were allowed to eat according to the Pentateuch does not become unclean if eaten without the ceremonial rules of the Pharisees.
      1. We also see in Acts that Peter has not understood that Jesus has finished the special dietary rules of the Jews (Acts 10:9-28).
    1. It could also be interpreted as Mark explaining to his Christian readers that Jesus does not require a Christian to enter into Jewish dietary rules.
      1. A Jew who becomes a Christian can thus, according to such an interpretation, continue to live according to the dietary rules of the Bible, while a gentile who becomes a Christian should not fall under the Jewish dietary rules.

Mark 7:21

  1. While most of us can beat our chests and claim we’ve never murdered anyone, we’ve probably fallen for some of the other evils in this list. Unfortunately, man is full of sin and needs a Savior who can forgive us our sins and create in us a new and pure heart. In dying on the cross, Jesus took all our sins and gave us the opportunity to be forgiven and cleansed.
    1. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).
    1. “Create in me, O God, a pure heart, and give me again a spirit of boldness.” (Psalm 51:12).
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