Clean Hands and Pure Hearts

September 12, 2012 at 9:40 am | Posted in Mark, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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There is a famous quote that says, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” Jesus’s disciples found themselves in the middle of a dispute about tradition and traditionalism in Mark Chapter 7.

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Mark 7:1-3

When the Pharisees and scribes pressed Jesus about His disciples’ hygiene habits, He must have felt pretty fed up.

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.

Mark 7:6

Here He was – seeking and saving sinners, fighting Satan, teaching eternal, invaluable, and indispensable truths – and the critics wanted to nitpick about hand-washing!

Tradition can be a valuable thing. We have over 2000 years of New Testament Christian history from which to learn if we will apply ourselves. When we try too hard to escape traditionalism, we often fall into the trap of rebellion just for the sake of seeming more “modern” or “fresh.” It is true that repetition over time does not always make a thing right. But it is also true that, in the final analysis, the Bible itself is our ultimate standard for faith, practice, and worship. Jesus told the Pharisees and scribes that they were…

…[m]aking the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Mark 7:13


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  1. […] it is true that only those with clean hands and a pure heart can ascend to the hill of the Lord, it is also true that “doubting” is one of the […]

  2. […] so it was natural that they went to their greatest strength: tradition. Jesus was not opposed to traditions UNLESS they were traditions that were contrary to the Word of […]

  3. […] 12. The Direction of True Faith (Mark 6:20-46) 13. Disciples, Defilement, and Division (Mark 7) 14. Clean Hands and Pure Hearts (Mark 7:1-13) 15. Biblical S.T.O.P. Signs (Mark 8) 16. Okay, Who Forgot to Bring the Food?! (Mark […]

  4. […] do not know if this was a conscious action on the part of Jesus, designed to provoke a reaction, but it did cause a reaction for sure. Jesus […]

  5. […] bearing fruit before we are cut down. When God intervenes to stop suffering we should rejoice, not nit-pick. The people who look like they’re in charge of the Kingdom have corrupted […]

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