Each week throughout the ReMarkAble series at First Baptist Church, Pastor Matt Clausen (or whomever preaches on Sunday) will provide a brief post that supplements the sermon content from the Sunday before. I will try to post them on Mondays following the sermon. Here is a link to the sermon on Mark Seven, and below is Matt's Sermon Supplement. We have additional content to support the Mark series, and you can read more about it here.
Making and keeping exterior rules
In Mark 7 the Pharisees were upset with Jesus' disciples because they didn’t wash their hands properly before they ate. The Old Testament prescribes this kind of washing just for priests but the Pharisees had spread “proper” washing to all the Jews.
They also were very concerned about proper washing of all of the utensils and dishes used for meals. When their oral traditions about proper dish cleaning were written down in the Mishnah it took up 35 pages.
Why are we prone to make exterior rules?
One of the reasons that we are attracted to the kind of exterior rules that the Pharisees promoted is that we can feel good about keeping them. There was a Rabbi at the time of Jesus who was excommunicated for eating with unwashed hands. However, most of the Rabbi’s and Pharisees did execute proper hand washing. There are times that we are attracted to lists of rules today because keeping them allows us to feel like we are good and clean.
Another reason that these kind of rules are so attractive to us is that it allows us to judge others based on easy to measure standards. The Pharisees could see the disciples didn’t properly wash their hands and so they could quickly judge them as inferior. We may be attracted to rules for the same reason. It is hard to measure your love for God verses my love for God but it is easy to measure many human traditions and standards and judge each other according to them.
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus reminds all who will listen that what comes out of us proves that we are unclean…that we aren’t good. Our lives are filled with selfishness, pride, hurtful speech, lust, coveting and so much more. These sins of the mind, mouth and deed show the true nature of our sinful hearts.
Our hope is found in Jesus - not our rules
The only hope is not found in keeping enough rules. Real hope can only be found in the grace of God who took the punishment for my bad and filled my account with the goodness of Jesus.
Praise Him for his work of Grace Today!