Inner Defilements by Tony Nester

Inner Defilements
Tony Nester
Mark 7:1-23

Jesus believed the worst thing about religion was that
it could make us look good even though we're bad. We
can use religion to fool others into thinking we're
better than we know we are. What's worse is that we
can end up fooling ourselves into actually believing
we're better than we are.

Today's Scripture is one of many places where Jesus
confronts religious leaders with their hypocrisy. It's
found in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 7, verses 1-23.

[read text]

An argument started when the Pharisees and Scribes
noticed that Jesus and his disciples did not follow
the rules about hand washing. This had nothing to do
with hygiene. This was about keeping oneself
spiritually pure.

A religious tradition has been started that said you
must go through a ceremony of hand washing whenever
you had been in contact with people or things that
were considered spiritually unclean.

There were lots of ways you could get spiritually
contaminated. You were contaminated if you ate with
unbelievers. You were contaminated if you touched a
dead body. You were contaminated if you happen to get
too close to a person with leprosy. You were
contaminated if you touched a woman or anything she
had touched during her time of uncleanness. You were
contaminated if you shopped in the market and touched
food that wasn't kosher.

Whenever you had been contaminated, and certainly
before you ate your food, you were supposed to purify
yourself through a ceremony of hand washing. Holy
water was used for this ceremony and it was kept in
special jars. First you poured the water over your
hands with your fingers pointed upward. Then you
washed again by pouring the water over your hands with
your fingers pointed downward. Then you could eat with
pure hands.

Jesus and his disciples mixed with all kinds of people
who were considered spiritually unclean - lepers, tax
collectors, th ...


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