Questions for Pondering and Discussion
Read Mark 7:1-23:
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)
- One of the most common reasons given by non-Christians for why they’re not interested in Christianity is that Christians are hypocrites.
– How do you think this come to be the reputation of Christianity?
– What would you say to a non-Christian who gave this reason for not pursuing Christianity?
- What is the definition of hypocrite or hypocrisy.
- Why did the Pharisees add so many extra rules to the laws of the Torah? Are there ways that we still do this today? If so, explain.
- What was the Pharisees’ understanding of the type of people that a holy person shouldn’t hang out with? What does this communicate about the Pharisees?
- Why did Jesus hang out with people who were considered “unclean” or “unholy”?
- What did Bobby mean when he said that, “Jesus is inside-out, not outside-in.”?
- “Sin is not just an action. It’s a condition.” What are the implications of this for our lives?
- How did Jesus redefine holiness?
- How do we develop a Jesus-like empathy for people around us?
- What did you sense God saying to you through this message?