Mark Chapter 07
Memory verses for
this week: Mark 11:24 Therefore I say
unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive them, and ye shall have them.
We continue with our study
of Mark Chapter 7. In chapter 6, Christ was not readily received
there in Nazareth, and their lack of faith caused Him to not perform
many wonderful works in this area. We then saw Jesus send forth his
disciples with special apostolic powers. They were to take little
with them, and to stay with those with whom they met. In the middle
of the book we studied about the death of John the Baptist, and then
covered the feeding of the 5,000 by Christ with just a couple of
loaves of bread and five fishes. In Chapter 7, we see conflicts
developing with the Pharisees. In chapters 2 and 3, they accused
Christ and the disciples of not observing the Sabbath correctly. Now
they clash with Christ over something that seemed very important to
them, ceremonial defilement.
I. Conflict with
Pharisees over Cleansing
Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of
the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
Mark 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with
defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash
their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
We find that some of the Pharisees have traveled over 100
miles away from Jerusalem to gather with other Pharisees to find fault
with Jesus. They were watching and looking for a reason to condemn
Jesus or his disciples. They observe some of the disciples eating
with unwashen hands. When I was a child, I marvelled at how my mom
could spot any sign of dirt on my hands from the other end of the
dinner table. She had a rule, and we were to wash our hands before
we eat. Like my family, the Pharisees had a tradition that the hands
should be washed before the meal. And they had some special ways
that you were to wash also. Hands had to be washed downward, and
then lifted, and water poured from the tops down. They had so many
rules concerning traditions, it is a wonder they could do anything.
I’m glad Jesus has freed us to serve God and not be worried about a
thousand rules that might offend someone.
Matthew Henry explained about some of these rules concerning
have here an account of the practice of the Pharisees and all the
Jews, v. 3, 4. 1. They washed their hands oft; they washed them,
critics find a great deal of work about that word, some making it to
denote the frequency of their washing (so we render it); others think
it signifies the pains they took in washing their hands; they washed
with great care, they washed their hands to their wrists (so some);
they lifted up their hands when they were wet, that the water might
run to their elbows. 2. They particularly washed before they ate
bread; that is, before they sat down to a solemn meal; for that was
the rule; they must be sure to wash before they ate the bread on which
they begged a blessing. "Whosoever eats the bread over which they
recite the benediction, Blessed be he that produceth bread, must wash
his hands before and after,’’ or else he was thought to be defiled. 3.
They took special care, when they came in from the markets, to wash
their hands; from the judgment-halls, so some; it signifies any place
of concourse where there were people of all sorts, and, it might be
supposed, some heathen or Jews under a ceremonial pollution, by coming
near to whom they thought themselves polluted; saying, Stand by
thyself, come not near me, I am holier than thou, Isa. 65:5. They say,
The rule of the rabbies was—That, if they washed their hands well in
the morning, the first thing they did, it would serve for all day,
provided they kept alone; but, if they went into company, they must
not, at their return, either eat or pray till they had washed their
hands; thus the elders gained a reputation among the people for
sanctity, and thus they exercised and kept up an authority over their
consciences. 4. They added to this the washing of cups, and pots, and
brazen vessels, which they suspected had been made use of by heathens,
or persons polluted; nay, and the very tables on which they ate their
meat. There were many cases in which, by the law of Moses, washings
were appointed; but they added to them, and enforced the observation
of their own impositions as much as of God’s institutions.
Mark 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash,
they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received
to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of
Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not
thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread
with unwashen hands?
Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias
prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth
me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
The Pharisees come to Jesus and ask why the disciples did not
live according to the tradition of the elders. Jesus answers them by
referring to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah stated that “This people
honour God with their lips, but their heart was far from him. It is
easy to say we serve the Lord, but to truly do it from the heart
takes effort and sincerity.
Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men.
Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the
tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such
like things ye do.
Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the
commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
The people were worshipping in vain because they taught for
doctrine the commandments of men. We are to worship God, and to honor
His commandments, not some tradition man has created. Jesus tells
them that you do lots of things like washing pots and cups, but you
reject the commandment of God by keeping your traditions.
Mark 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and,
Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
Mark 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother,
It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be
profited by me; he shall be free.
Mark 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your
tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Jesus quotes one of the ten commandments and shows how they
had changed it by their tradition. What Jesus was saying is that by
the following manner, they had changed the commandment. “It is Corban,
that is to say, a gift, (Something that was vowed to the Lord… I am
making Corban….that is a temple offering) instead of helping their
parents as God had intended. They felt that by offering a gift in the
temple, it exempted them from having to give to their parents. By
their traditions, they told the people they were free from the
obligation to their parents if they gave this temple gift. Nothing
exempts us from helping our parents as Jesus so clearly states. He
saw in verse 13 that they were making the word of God of none effect
by their traditions. They might have thought they were free, but God
would still hold them accountable.
Mark 7:14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said
unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into
him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are
they that defile the man.
Mark 7:16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus explains what true defilement is in verses 14 through
16. A person is not defiled by the food he or she eats, but by the
thoughts that emerge from our wicked heart. Jesus makes the
distinction that what the Pharisees WAS NOT what God had taught. The
Pharisees gave primary attention to the outward looks and the formal
observance of prescribed rules and regulations. Jesus’ emphasis was
on the inner attitude and motive. When any religion places more on
the outward versus the inward, it has ceased to be true religion.
Remember what Jesus told the Samaritan women by the well.
John 4:21 Jesus
saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall
neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
John 4:22 Ye worship
ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the
John 4:23 But the
hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the
Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship
John 4:24 God is a
Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in
When Samuel went to the house of Jessie to anoint a new king
for Israel, he was sure each of the sons was the one. But all in the
house were not the one God had chosen.
1 Sam 16:7 But the
LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height
of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as
man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD
looketh on the heart.
Mark 7:17 And when he was entered into the house from the people,
his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
Mark 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding
also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth
into the man, it cannot defile him;
Mark 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the
belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
Mark 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that
defileth the man.
Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil
thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Mark 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,
lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
Mark 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the
Christ was amazed at the disciples’ lack of knowledge
concerning His teachings on defilement. He lists out the many things
that can not defile a man. What we eat is not will defile us. The
food does not enter into the heart and defile it, but out of the
heart, we have evil thoughts that defile us. He lists them all there
in verse 21 and 22. These evil things are what defile a man or
J. Vernon McGee explains what defiles a man in his
I’ll guarantee you that
if you will buy the morning paper wherever you live and will read it
through, you will find that this is what came out of man during the
last twenty-four hours:
fornications—unlawful sex relations
Murders (anger should
also be avoided)
Thefts (loafing on the
job is also stealing)
greediness for material things and positions
Wickedness—all the acts
that are intended to hurt people
Deceit—the pretense that
people put up
God or man
Pride (God hates this
above all else)
without any respect for God or man
These all come out of the heart of man and that is why the Lord Jesus
says, “Ye must be born again.”[ii]
Mark 7:24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of
Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know
it: but he could not be hid.
Mark 7:25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean
spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
Mark 7:26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and
she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her
We have studied how that twice before this, Christ had
withdrawn with his disciples from the crowded west shore of the Lake
of Galilee. Both times they went across the east side of the lake.
In the first instance, Jesus healed the man that was demon possessed
and totally out of mind. Mark 4:35 – 5:20. The second time was when
Christ fed the 5,000 there on the hillside which we studied in last
week’s lesson. Mark 6:30-44 This third time that Christ withdraws
from the people to the north about 40 or 50 miles to the border of
Tyre and Sidon. This was ancient Phoenicia, which today is the
country of Lebanon. Christ entered into a house apparently to be
alone with his disciples. He apparently was intending to instruct the
twelve apostles and prepare them for the time when they would have to
carry on His work. But Christ’s presence is known, and this woman
comes to Jesus that says her daughter is possessed by a devil. She
comes and asks Jesus to cast out this demon. By her language, she was
a Greek, but by race, she was a Syrophenician which was a descendant
of the Canaanites. We see this from the account in Matthew.
Mat 15:22 And,
behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto
him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter
is grievously vexed with a devil.
Mark 7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be
filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast
it unto the dogs.
Mark 7:28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the
dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
Jesus explains to the woman that is was not meet to take that
which belonged to the Jew and to give it to the Gentiles. In the
Matthew account, we have record that the disciples asked Christ to
send the woman away, because she ‘crieth after us.’ One of the
remarkable things about this woman was her humble spirit. She says
“Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s
crumbs.” We know the gentiles were referred to as dogs by the Jews,
and she says that this dog would eat from the crumbs that fell from
the table. God desires us to be humble people.
James 4:6 But he
giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but
giveth grace unto the humble.
Psa 69:32 The humble
shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
Mark 7:29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the
devil is gone out of thy daughter.
Mark 7:30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil
gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
Because of this woman’s faith, Jesus heals her daughter. We
need to always remember that without faith, it is impossible to please
God. Even when we pray, we are to believe that we will have our
petitions. When the woman came to her house, she found the demon
gone out of her daughter.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus
answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto
thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very
III. A Deaf and Dumb
Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon,
he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of
Mark 7:32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an
impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon
The healing of this deaf and dumb man is only recorded here
in the book of Mark. Why God chose to only list some acts one time by
one author, where some were listed in all four accounts is unclear.
One thing we can be sure of… God had a reason. And if something is
repeated we need to always pay particular importance to it. It says
after they left the coasts of Tyre and Sidon that he came back to the
coasts of Decapolis. Here they brought a man who was deaf and had a
speech impediment. It is bad when a person has a physical
deficiency, but when you can not speak plainly nor hear, you are at a
distinct disadvantage. God helps those with difficulties to cope I
know. In this situation, they come to the right one to find
healing. When Jesus comes on the scene, things change. Things that
looked hopeless no longer seem so hard. When hearts are heavy, he
brings peace and solace. Constantly, Jesus commanded his disciples
to ‘Fear Not’. We should not be people of fear but people of faith.
Mark 7:33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his
fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;
Mark 7:34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him,
Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
Mark 7:35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of
his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
Mark 7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but
the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published
Mark 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done
all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to
Christ put His fingers into the his ears and touched his
tongue to show others that he intended to heal these two parts of the
man’s body. And when he did it, the man was instantly and totally
healed. I love how that Jesus never half way did anything. You
never heard of a man who was blind coming out with partial sight or
seeing in just one eye. Jesus healed totally and wholly. And when
he saves our souls, it is total and forever… thank the Lord. The
people around were astonished in what Jesus was doing. The chapter
closes with “He hath done all things well; he maketh both the deaf to
hear, and the dumb to speak.”
J. Vernon McGee said this about the man being healed:
All the things He did
were done as aids to faith. The whole thought here reveals the fact
that the condition of this man caused Jesus to use this method. His
ears were first opened so that he could hear. After this it apparently
was useless to try to get the crowd to remain silent. It was this
miracle which brought about a great impetus in enlarging the ministry
of Jesus, which had already broken all bounds.
At this time pressure
upon Jesus was humanly unbearable. In spite of the pressure put upon
Jesus, the burdens of the multitudes, the tensions of the times, the
long busy days, and the weakness of the body, the crowd could say, “He
hath done all things well.” We just add our word of agreement to this
and say a hearty amen.
Friend, He still does all things well today!
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
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Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s
Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible
commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible
commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.