Summary: In the first 5 verses of mark, chapter 7 we see the religionists have found fault with Jesus' disciples. The religionists were on a fact-finding commission from Jerusalem. They had come to investigate Jesus, to see exactly what was going on.
In the first 5 verses of mark, chapter 7 we see the religionists have found fault with Jesus' disciples.
The religionists were on a fact-finding commission from Jerusalem. They had come to investigate Jesus, to see exactly what was going on.
News of His preaching and healing and of His conflicts with local authorities were constantly being brought to the attention of the Jerusalem leaders. They had already sent one fact-finding commission to confront Jesus and their report had not been good.
They had accused Jesus of healing and casting out demons by Beelzebub or casting out demons by the power of Satan. They had also accused Him of breaking the Sabbath law.
The whole country was buzzing with news of Jesus' claims and unbelievable miracles. People were stirred up.
All this demanded that another commission be sent out to investigate Jesus.
When they arrived, they immediately saw the disciples breaking one of their traditions.
The disciples were eating with unwashed hands…
They did not mean that the disciples had bad manners, or that they were practicing bad health. They meant the disciples were unclean in the eyes of God.
Why? Because the disciples had not washed their hands as a sign to God that they were offering themselves and their food to God.
The traditional ceremony of washing your hands before meals (as a sign of thanksgiving to God) had been broken and the disciples were ceremonially unclean.
The Law of Moses prescribed washing before handling some items. The idea was to instill within the people the
holiness of God and His temple, and the need for man to be spiritually clean before approaching Him or handling His
But what had happened was that some religionists had added to God's Word. They had taken the Law of God,
including the laws of cleansing, and had added thousands and thousands of rules and regulations.
There was a rule governing practically every thing a person did, so many rules in fact that no one could conceivably keep them.
Instead of pointing a person to God and to the need for the cleansing of the heart, the rules caused a person to focus on the rules and the keeping of rules in stead of maintaining a personal relationship with God.
The rules became the center and focus of everyone’s attention, instead of God.
In the case of the disciples, the rule being broken was that of washing the hands before eating a meal.
In the eyes of the investigating committee, they were unclean in the sight of God. They had broken a tradition of the elders and there was no excuse for it, not if they were the disciples of a true Rabbi.
A true Rabbi would be teaching his disciples the traditions of the elders, not ignoring and violating them.
So, the commission brought their charge to Jesus (v.5). “5Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?””
Jump down to verses 14-23 and let’s see what Jesus had to say about the difference between internal and external cleansing.