Summary: Jesus deals with spiritual blindness.
SERIES: WALKING WITH JESUS
“THE SERVANT ENLIGHTENS”
Rose Crawford had been blind for 50 years. Then she had an operation in a hospital in Ontario, Canada. In response to the effectiveness of the surgery as the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes she said, “I just can’t believe it,” She wept - when for the first time in her life - a dazzling and beautiful world of form and color greeted her eyes and she could now see.
The amazing thing about her story, however, was that twenty years of her blindness was unnecessary. She didn’t know that surgical techniques had been developed to treat her condition and that an operation could have restored her vision at the age of 30.
The doctor said, “She just figured there was nothing that could be done for her condition. Much of her life could have been different.”
In this section of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus deals with spiritual blindness. We see that not only did Jesus’ enemies suffer from spiritual blindness but so did some of His closest followers. As we look at what Mark describes to us, let us ask God to show us where we are spiritually blind.
TRUTH VS. TRADITION
I grew up about an hour north of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. My family would spend time in “cave country” several times during my childhood. Our church youth group and my Boy Scout troop went there several times as well.
Some of the interesting things to see while on these tours are the blind creatures who live in that cave system. There are blind grasshoppers – with no wings and extremely long antennae, blind and colorless crayfish (crawdads), and blind fish. These creatures live in the complete darkness that comes from being so far underground.
One of the things that tour guides pointed out was that any person who lived in total darkness for just a few months would become irrevocably blind. Darkness doesn’t just hinder your sight. It causes you to become blind.
Mark describes in this passage an encounter with people who were blinded by tradition. They put so much emphasis on human interpretation of God’s truth that they failed to see the sufficiency of God’s truth.
Mk. 7:1-23 – “The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were ‘unclean,’ that is, unwashed. (The
Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition
of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law
asked Jesus, ‘Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food
with unclean hands?’ He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the
traditions of men.’ And he said to them: ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order
to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death. But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let
him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have
handed down. And you do many things like that.’ Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me,
everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.’ After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don't you see that nothing that enters a
man from the outside can make him unclean? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out
of his body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’) He went on: ‘What comes out of a man is what
makes him unclean. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside