The background for these verses begin in verse 1 of Mark 7 where we find the disciples eating bread and the Pharisees notice they are eating with unwashed hands. In Jesus’ day there was an oral tradition that came out of the laws God gave the Israelites regarding clean and unclean. These traditions became the heart of rabbinic Judaism and in regards to hand washing, the Pharisees did more than just ritually wash their hands – they thoroughly purified themselves. So they asked Jesus, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” Jesus points out that washing hands, does not wash hearts. Sin is a heart problem caused by an unclean heart.

When Rituals make us Hypocrites we have a heart problem

Jesus knew that this wasn’t a question of curiosity. Nor were they solely accusing the disciples. They were in reality accusing Jesus of not following the law himself and acting as if he believes himself to be above the law. In response, Jesus quotes Isaiah 7:6-7  and straight out calls the Pharisees hypocrites right to their face. He tells them that the prophet Isaiah accurately prophesied about them when he said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Their heart problem kept them caught up and bound up in the law – so much that they couldn’t recognize the Messiah was present among them.

So how does ritual hand washing make them hypocrites? Jesus gives the answer in verse 8: “For laying aside the commandment of God you hold the traditions of men.” In other words, the Pharisees twisted the commandment in order to side-step the law. Jesus was not rejecting the law. Instead he rebuked the Pharisees for not upholding it. The real issue here is not eating with unwashed hands, ritual purity, or oral traditions and who should or should not follow them. In quoting Isaiah, Jesus lets them know the real issue is a heart problem and their hearts are far from God. They were so caught up in keeping up with the traditions and rituals that there was no room for true worship.

What gets you into heaven?

So to the crowd that was around, Jesus wanted them to understand that it is not what you take into your body that qualifies you as unclean or impure. Instead, it’s what comes out of the heart that defile us. (Mark 7:15) Rituals and traditions don’t gain us entrance into heaven. Whether we sing the old hymns or contemporary music in church won’t get us into heaven. Whether there is a pulpit on the stage or not won’t get us into heaven. Nor does it matter if we sing the Doxology after the offering or not. You can memorize the books of the Bible and all the best known Bible verses – but it won’t get you into heaven.

You can memorize specific prayers and repeat them non-stop till you die, but it won’t get you into heaven. And you can pray to Mary, John the Baptist, St Paul, St Andrew, St. Matthew and all the other apostles – but they can’t get you into heaven either. You can live a highly moral life, but it won’t get you into heaven. You can’t buy your way in and no traditions or rituals will get you in. What gets us into heaven is a pure heart that has been forgiven through the faith we place in Christ as our Savior – nothing more – nothing less. The only cure to our sin infested heart problem is for our hearts to be washed in the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb.

When we have a heart problem, it affects the whole person

Then as we come to verse 17, we find that the disciples didn’t get it and asked Him to explain what he had said. Jesus tells them that it is was is produced in the heart that affects the whole person. The heart is thought of the center of human will and rationality, as well as desire. It is the place from which all our intentions are birthed.

Jesus lists 13 moral heart problems to illustrate what He was teaching them. The first seven are all plural, indicating repeating acts. However, it only takes one sin to make us a sinner. Fornication includes all illicit sexual practices outside of marriage. Wickedness is used for anything malicious. The last six sins listed are all singular and are sinful attitudes. Lewdness refers to promiscuity. An evil eye means jealousy, envy, covetousness, and a grudging attitude. Blasphemy includes not just blasphemy against God, but slander of other people. Pride is exalting oneself above others. Foolishness is lack of moral judgment. We can find similar lists in Romans 1:29-31, Galatians 5:19-21, and 2 Timothy 3:2-5.

What pleases God?

When our heart problem is consumed with self-seeking desires, we become insatiable in pursing the things that please our self rather than pursing the things that please God. Ephesian 5:10 tells us that we need to discern the things that please God. So what pleases God?

  • Faith (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, which is true worship (Romans 12:1)
  • Not being conformed to this world but renew our minds and discern God’s will (Romans 12:2)
  • Good deeds and growing in the knowledge of God (Galatians 1:10)
  • speaking as God wants us to (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  • doing the will of God (1 John 2:17)
  • loving others (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
  • Sharing with others (Hebrews 13:16)
  • humble and contrite heart (Isaiah 57:15)
  • the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in His sight (Psalm 19:14)
  • Working heartily, as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23)
  • Obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29)
  • fearing (awe, respect of) Him and placing our hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 147:10-11)
  • Walking as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8-10)
  • doing everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Just as the list of 13 sins come from within, so does what pleases God. It all comes down to the condition of our heart. Do we have a heart black with sin or a heart that has been cleansed by Christ and living for Him?


Revive Renew Redeem logo on self-care post

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

Verse Mapping

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

2021 Memory Verse Plan
Bible Reading Plan Download

Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

One Year Bible Reading Plan

Jeremiah 29:13

For America to see revival, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says we are to seek God’s face. Jeremiah tells us that we will find Him when we search for Him with all our hearts.

Here are some of our favorite designs

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

WestBow Press logo

Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


Here’s some of our recent posts.

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 

Follow us on:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FB-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is linked-in-logo-1.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is twitter-bird.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is instgram-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pintrest-logo.png

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.