Mark 7:13

Strangled Faith

 

Read:

". . . you do many such things like that." Mark 7:13

 

Reflect: 

Jesus’ whole ministry was in challenging the categorizing of people and things into clean and unclean. These were boundaries the Pharisees had set up to keep out lepers, sinners and all who were considered unclean. Jesus oversteps their boundaries by attacking their purity regulations, claiming their true uncleanliness is not ritual but moral. One need not protect holiness with a fence of rules. 

God’s holiness burst all the boundaries. It does not suffer contamination, but transforms everything it touches. Jesus displays this when he touches the leper, is touched by a woman with the flow of blood, and touches a corpse. He is not made unclean, He cleanses and restores life.

The Pharisees were working on the assumption that God lives in the temple, and the laws provided the bases on which the priest was to approach God. But Jesus made God available to everyone, even those who did not practice the Pharisaic way. One did not have to be a priest, or pretend to be a priest, to be in God’s presence. Being in the temple has nothing to do with having access to God.

Religion puts up barriers creating a closed system which shuts off connection with God and others. It strangles real, passionate faith. Jesus sought to include, not exclude. 

Paul picks up on this when he directs the Corinthians to eat whatever is before them, and to the Romans, that no food is unclean. Quit putting up stumbling blocks, live in harmony, build one another up. 

Get mixed up in messes with others who have messed up their lives. We have to get our hands dirty with the pain, sorrow, prejudice, injustice and treachery of others. 

God doesn't respect the boundaries we create and carefully protect, drawing theological lines in the sand, placing others outside, while we stay inside. It’s possible to be doctrinally accurate, and not have the spirit of Christ. God has a great disregard for such a religious spirit. And prodigal grace keeps spilling over into alien territory. 

 

Respond:

Meditate on this basic description of living faith:  they will know we are Christians by our love. How does this change the way you will live today?