We continue this week with our look at the Gospel of Mark. Last week we covered chapters 4-6 as we looked at the pattern of Jesus’ teaching. This week we are in chapter 7 and once again we see the Pharisees and their blatant disrespect of Jesus and his ministry. And once again Jesus doesn’t sit back and take it or change his message to fit their rebuke.

Jesus turns it back on the Pharisees by looking at the heart of the issue.

Jesus says, “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.” Mark 7:6-8 (MSG)

Jesus wants them to know that it is about their heart and intent in worship. He moves from rebuke of the Pharisees to a moment of teaching for all the people present. He drops a bombshell when he tells them the parable about what pollutes the human body; it is not what you put in but what comes out. At that time there was a list of things you could and couldn’t eat. What you put in your body does not go to your heart but to the stomach and then out again, that can’t make him unclean. But, what comes out of a man is what makes him unclean.

The Pharisees were hypocrites because they made an outward profession of worshiping God but gave Him no genuine worship from their hearts. They were teaching the rules of men as authoritative or directly from God. The Pharisees looked at tradition as “the fence of the Law.” It was not the Law that protected the tradition, but the tradition that protected the Law! There is no tradition or habit in the church that can or should dominate the Word of God. We do not exist to elevate our own name or pious acts. Instead we want to make much of Jesus and the cross of salvation.

Jesus is most interested in our heart or our motives. Do we serve and obey God out of blind obedience or out of love and devotion? It is the difference between religion and relationship. God has never looked for blind obedience, but He has always looked for a relationship. We can find ourselves day-by-day going through the motions out of habit alone (we are creatures of habit). But, may we notice and identify when these habits creep into our worship life. We don’t want to treat it like everything else, because God is concerned about our worship. Matters of the heart aren’t always easy to deal with, but it is a good thing that the Holy Spirit is in the Heart business.

What areas of your life do you struggle to put your heart in to it? What areas of your worship do you do out of blind obedience? Have you ever asked yourself why you do what you do? Are these things according to God or are they man-made rules?

Please leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.