Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which
came from Jerusalem.
This verse gives a
glimpse of the organized resistance against Jesus. This is the third
Passover of Jesus’ public ministry. He did not attend this Passover in
Jerusalem probably to delay for another year His death. Therefore the
Scribes and Pharisees came to
to watch Him and conspire against Him. No doubt, these were the shrewdest
and most able were sent from the seat of learning and authority in
Jerusalem. They were
probably considered to be better prepared to confront Jesus than the Scribes
and Pharisees in
controversy, which contains the sharpest rebuke that Christ had thus far
paid to the Pharisaical system, is recorded also by
Mark, for the benefit of Gentile readers, adds a few words concerning Jewish
customs. They came from
They were probably formally sent by the Sanhedrim to investigate the work
and teaching of Jesus.
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.
The Pharisees were
watching for an opportunity to attack Jesus.
Not dirty, not
"unwashed" but rather the Greek word baptizo, un-baptized fully immersed
hands. The "tradition of the elders" required them to always fully baptize
their hands before eating lest they might have touched something
Mark 7:3 For the
Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat
not, holding the tradition of the elders.
Oft (or often) is
washing frequently, diligently, and carefully up to the elbow. The
traditions of the Elders is what had been handed down not what was delivered
in writing in the Law of Moses, but rather, what was handed down from father
to son. The Elders, are the Ancients, the forefathers. The Pharisees
claimed that there were two laws, one written by Moses, and other oral
traditions, handed down from Moses to Aaron to the elders of that time, and
then from generation to generation. They attached more importance to the
tradition than the law itself, or more importance to the interpretation of
the scripture than the scriptures themselves. A digest of the tradition is
called the Mish-nah. Comments on the Mish-nah are explained in the Tal-mud,
thus the Mish-nah explains the law, and the Tal-mud explains the Mish-nah.
The duty of washing
before meat is not inculcated in the law, but only in the tradition of the
scribes. So rigidly did the Jews observe it, that Rabbi Akiba, being
imprisoned, and having water only sufficient to sustain life given him,
preferred dying of thirst rather than to eating without washing his hands.
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, brasen vessels, and of tables.
The marketplace is a
broad place in the city for public meeting. Here children met to play,
laborers to seek work, the sick to be healed, and philosophers to discuss
great questions. The Pharisees loved the salutations in the marketplace.
In the Greek, not
the word rendered "wash" elsewhere in the passage, but baptize.
Apparently, in the ritual of the Pharisees, washing by pouring on water
sufficed for those who remained at home, but immersion of the hands
in water was required of those who had gone out of the house. They not only
insisted on washing the hands, because of the tradition, but also, many
other things. The law of Moses required purifications in certain, but the
rabbis had perverted the spirit of Leviticus in this as in other things, for
they taught that food and drink could not be taken with a good conscience
when there was the possibility of ceremonial defilement. If every
perceivable precaution had not been taken, the person or the vessel used
might have contracted impurity, which would thus be conveyed to the food,
and through the food to the body, and by it to the soul. Hence it had been
long a custom, and a strict law, that before every meal not only the hands,
but even the dishes, couches, and tables, should be scrupulously washed."
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?
They do not
accuse Jesus of this but rather His disciples.
To not live
according to their tradition was to transgress the traditions of the
fathers. cf: Matthew 15:2
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.
Their false doctrine
and practice was foretold by the prophet Isaiah. This is the first time
Jesus openly called them hypocrites. They were hypocrites or actors in
motive and purpose.
Mark 7:7 Howbeit in
vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of
The precepts or
commandments of men were the doctrines that they taught as binding.
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with
their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart
far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Isa 29:14 Therefore,
behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even
a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men
shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be
Isa 29:15 Woe unto
them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are
in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
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.
Thus, they have set the
pure Word of God on the side track, neglecting and disregarding the
commandments of God and cling to the traditions of men. They dethroned God
and gave man His seat.
Mark 7:9 And he said
unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your
They could not do both,
in order to keep their traditions they rejected the commandments of God.
Jesus came down from heaven to do the will of God, who sent Him. Cf: John
6:38. Not the traditions of the elders or the precepts of men which have no
part in the Will of God.
In reply to the
Pharisees, Jesus attacked tradition itself and charged His accusers with
three things. 1. Hypocrisy, because they pretended to honor God with their
lips and their hearts were far from Him. 2. Worshipping in vain, because
they taught as their doctrine the commandments of men. 3. Rejecting the
commandments of God in order to keep their tradition.
Mark 7:10 For Moses
said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother,
let him die the death:
Jesus introduces an
example to prove His charge against them. Cf: Exodus 20:12. The Decalogue
or Ten Commandments is Divine in its origin and Moses is the inspired
teacher and lawgiver. Honor thy father and thy mother in every way, word,
deed, and thought and providing for them in their old age.
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
By your tradition and
your practice, you’re in opposition to God’s law by your gift of corban,
which is an offering or sacrifice given to God. Their tradition said even
pronouncing the word corban over one’s property, absolved him from the
obligation of caring for his parents.
Mark 7:12 And ye
suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
You allow the children
to do as they desire, and you should be ashamed of this wicked practice.
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.
The tradition had been
handed down by practice and had annulled the Word of God, Jesus returns to
the charge He made in vs. 8.
One of the most general
and popular evils of today is the neglect of the old, and disregard of
parents. To honor father and mother is the first commandment with promise.
Cf: Ephesians 6:1-3. To pretend to be Christians while neglecting these
home duties is Pharisaical and worse than infidels. Cf: I Timothy 5:4-8
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:
This indicates that the
preceeding incident was probably private, and He now had something of
importance that demanded their closest attention. The Pharisees and Scribes
teach you about an imaginary ceremonial traditional defilement, but here is
where the real defilement comes from, and of what it consists.
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.
Nothing going into the
mouth, then the stomach, for nourishment makes a man common or unclean
morally. The things that come from the heart and out of the mouth, his
words are what make him common or unclean. Impure words indicate an impure
heart. Jesus plays down the principle that what is eaten does not affect
Mark 7:16 If any man
have ears to hear, let him hear.
Mark 7:17 And when he
was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him
concerning the parable.
Therefore we understand
that the teaching of the multitude was done outdoors.
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
You, my disciples, who
have been so highly favored with my day to day teaching should understand.
Eating cannot render the soul polluted and make man a sinner.
Mark 7:19 Because it
entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the
draught, purging all meats?
The food does not
reach, or affect the mind or soul. The theories of the Pharisees therefore,
are not founded in reason, but in mere superstition. The heart is the seat,
or center of the inner man, or soul. Food in the digestive tract cannot
affect the morals of men. The process of digestion is a cleansing one.
Whatever is impure is separated from the food and carried off, leaving what
is nutritious to enter the blood and become part of the body.
Mark 7:20 And he said,
That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
The words from an evil
heart are really what is polluted and offensive in the sight of God.
Mark 7:21 For from
within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
The mind, the inner
man, the seat of all intentions and actions, thinks evil thoughts as well as
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: ...
Mark 7:22 Thefts,
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy,
Mark 7:23 All these
evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Evil originates and
comes from the heart. The best way to check the progress of sin in our life
is to mortify it in the heart, and to crucify sin that is corrupt root – the
heart of man. The heart is a cage of uncleanliness Cf: Colossians 3:1ff.
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
The frontier region
was the two principal cities, Phoenicia on the coast of the Mediterranean
coast, a hundred miles northwest of Jerusalem. Both were Gentile cities in
a Gentile country. This is the only instance in Jesus’ Ministry that He
went beyond the bounds of Israel. He went into a private house probably to
give instructions to the Apostles.
Mark 7:25 For a
certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him,
and came and fell at his feet:
She had heard of Him
and His miracles and falling at His feet denotes reverence and earnest
pleading. Her faith in His power is thus manifested. Faith led her to
Jesus. Matthew 15:22 adds the words “O Lord, thou son of David” showing she
knew the prophecies that Christ would be a descendent of David.
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 daughter.
Mark describes the
woman as a Gentile. Matthew 15:22ff calls her a Canaanite and says Jesus
answered her not a word.
What yould you do if
you asked me a question and I ignored you?
Some people in the
Church are too sensitive. Jesus had something this woman needed and she
knew she could not get it any where else.
Next Matthew says the
disciples tell Jesus to send her away. What would you do if you heard
others talking about you? Use it as an excuse and say I’m out of here!
Where else would you go? There is only the Church.
There were reasons
for hesitation, he delayed to bring out the lesson. Cf: Matthew 15:24. “I
was not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel”.
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.
It was not yet time for
the Gentiles. There was, however, hope for her in the future. “It is not
meet” good, right, or proper. The Jews considered themselves the Children
of God, and all other nations were referred as dogs which were words of
contempt. Jesus did not intend to justify, or sanction, the use of such
terms, but rather, to try her faith.
Mark 7:28 And she
answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of
the children's crumbs.
I am indeed one of the
dogs, a Gentile, and willing to take my place as one. I am willing to
accept the crumbs after all of the children are filled. The answer of the
woman is a wonderful illustration of faith. It’s hard to know what to
admire the most, her wit, or her humility.
Mark 7:29 And he said
unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
Her request was
granted. Matthew 15:28 says “O woman, great is thy faith.”
Mark 7:30 And when she
was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid
upon the bed.
She returned in full
confidence. Doubtless the mothers heart was full of joy.
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 Decapolis.
The coasts of
district east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan, so called because it
contained ten cities. Only Mark gives the account of the following miracle.
Mar 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 him.
The demoniac of
Gadarenes after his healing went through this region declairing what great
things Jesus had done for him. So friends of a deaf stammerer bring him to
Jesus. Blessings were commonly imparted by laying on of hands.
One that was
deaf, and had an impediment in his speech.
Probably had not been born deaf, as he was not dumb.
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;
His friends suggested
their way of healing to “put his hands on him” they needed to be taught to
leave the way to Jesus. Jesus took him aside, the people may have gathered
to witness a great miracle but Jesus would make no display. While He would
strengthen their faith He would not feed their superstition. Jesus shows He
was not limited to any one way of exercising His power.
Mark 7:34 And
looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be
The manner of the
Lord in this miracle was peculiar. We understand that he used signs
instead of words in order to arouse faith in the deaf man. He touched the
organs that had lost their office and then looked to heaven. This would be
deeply significant to one who had learned to understand by signs.
Ephphatha. An Aramaic word in the common language of Judea at that
time, meaning "Be opened."
Mark 7:35 And
straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed,
and he spake plain.
At once both his
difficulties were removed.
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 it;
This is a way of
showing that He did not desire the praise of men.
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 speak.
In the Greek: “very
And God saw
every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the
evening and the morning were the sixth day.
In this Mark’s account
and the parallel in Matthew the charactic difference between the two writers
is seen cf: Matthew 15:30-31 And great multitudes came unto him,
having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many
others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that
the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be
whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of
Matthew gives no
particular description of any single case. Mark on the other hand selects
one single cure and describes it and it’s effect on the people.
He maketh both
the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. Christ, ever since, has been
engaged, spiritually, in the same work.
Isaiah 750 years
before Christ came told us of the signs that the Christ would work when He
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert
shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Isa 35:2 It shall
blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of
Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they
shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
Isa 35:3 Strengthen ye
the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
Isa 35:4 Say to them
that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God
will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence;
he will come and save you.
Isa 35:5 Then the eyes
of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Isa 35:6 Then shall
the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in
the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Isa 35:7 And the
parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water:
in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with
reeds and rushes.
Isa 35:8 And an
highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of
holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for
those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
Isa 35:9 No lion shall
be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be
found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and
everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and
sorrow and sighing shall flee away.