The Gospel of Mark – Part 24
The Truth of God – Mark 6:53-7:23
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Feb. 2nd, 2020
- The Holy Spirit, through the writing of Mark, continues to reveal and point us toward the real identity of Jesus. In chapter six, we read how people in His hometown reject Him because of their pride. We see the disciples being sent out two by two calling people to repentance through preaching, reclaiming ground that enemy had taken through deliverance, and repairing bodies from sickness through healing. We read about how John the Baptist was misidentified and how his ministry and life had ended. We read how Jesus fulfills Old Testament scriptures by showing the compassion of God for His people as the good shepherd, as He provides complete care for His people in the account of the feeing of the five thousand. We see Jesus doing only what God can do by walking on the sea and declaring that “I AM” is with us, so we take courage and not be afraid.
- The chapter ends with Jesus and the disciples landing back on shore in the region of Gennesaret where Mark describes what happened in and around that region. Next, we read about Jesus’s interaction with the religious authorities as they question Jesus as to why He doesn’t follow the religious traditions. Jesus tells them the truth about who they are and where our true problems come from. In our passage for today, we will see the source of our help is Jesus, the source of our authority is the word of God, and the source of our problems is our sinful hearts. My hope is that from this passage you would choose to run to Jesus for help, that you would choose to build your life on God’s word and that you would choose to acknowledge your need for the mercy and power of God.
The source of our help
Mark 6:53-56 ESV
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
- These people immediately recognized Jesus and because they knew that He was in their region they ran to spread the news. The people responded by bringing the sick people on their beds to wherever Jesus was. The called out to him, and even with a touch of His garment they were made whole.
- These people recognized Jesus as the source of their help. And they were not going to waste any time to come to Him. You have to marvel at the faith and response of these people. You have to marvel that they took action to the next level by bringing people to Jesus who could not go themselves. Jesus had already ministered in this area and the people who could come to him did so and they were healed. When He had come again, they were now bringing people who were unable to come themselves. As Jesus passed by them in the marketplaces, they were made whole. Because of recognition, because of reputation, there was a rapid response. They knew they could come to Him, that they could bring others to Him and with a touch they would be made whole. This “wholeness” is beyond healing. It was a wholeness they extended to the heart. They were changed with a touch, and a touch was all it took.
- The “fringe of his garment” was the tassels of blue that the Jews were instructed to put on the corners of their garments as a reminder to do all the commandments of the Lord.
Num 15:37-41 ESV
The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”
- So, the “fringe of his garments” was a representation of the commands and holiness of God. Jesus was the embodiment of perfect obedience to the commandments of God. He was perfected holiness, and from this holiness comes wholeness to all who call upon Him in faith. His holiness is our wholeness.
- As He came to them, they reached out to Him in Faith. And in this faith, they were made completely whole. They recognized that Jesus was the source of their help, and He is the source of your help, because He is the only one who can make you completely whole.
- Now there was as different group who came to Jesus. They came not to be made whole, but because they thought that they were holy, they were right, and that they were already good, they came to question and condemn Jesus.
The source of our authority
Mark 7:1-5 ESV
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?”
- These guys were not coming to Jesus out of the realization of their great need. They were coming to Jesus out of their religious self-righteousness. They did not see themselves as ones who needed the help of God, because they could follow God on their own. And they made a detailed religion of all that must be done as they passed down and added to their traditions as to what it meant to be walking in the commands of God. They had turned what was intended to be a life-giving relationship into rules and regiments of a religion that was based upon compliance to their rules for their glory instead of dependence upon the grace for God for His glory. They thought that God’s holiness was defiled by things that were unholy, and the truth is that things that were unholy became whole by what was holy.
Mark 7:6-13 ESV
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.”
- These men had elevated their own tradition to the same place of authority as the very word of God, and by doing so they “voided” the word of God by their tradition. Anytime a religious teaching or tradition is given the same authority as the word of God and is contrary to or not supported by the word of God, reject it. This rediscovery was the basis of the protestant reformation. And we must evaluate every doctrine, every tradition, every practice that we hold to by the word of God. If it is not found there, if it is not built upon it, those things should be seen as non-authoritative and non-binding and can be let go of. Elevating any tradition or teaching above the word is a perversion and it should be called out for what it is.
- And our holiness problem is not solved by external conformity, it is solved by getting a new heart by a holy God.
The source of our problem
Mark 7:14-23 ESV
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.”
- The source of our problems is not what is in the world, it is what is in our hearts. It is not what we take in that is the real problem, but it is what comes out of us this is the true problem. And by “cleaning up our act” we will never change our hearts. This passage in a way is a summation of the sermon of the mount (Matt. 5-7), stating our real problem is the sin that defiles us from within and we cannot earn our own righteousness and that we all stand as lawbreakers to the one whom we must give an account (Rom. 3).
- Jesus came not to abolish the law and prophets, but to fulfill them. The only way that our righteousness can exceed the Scribes and the Pharisees, the only way that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven, is to be in the way, the truth and the life and to put our faith in the Son of God and in His righteousness.
- Jesus is the source of our help. Run to Him and His Holiness and in Him you can be made whole. He is mighty to save and His authority comes from the word of God, and He is the Word of God. Will you turn to Him and trust in Him today?
- Make sure the foundation of your life is built upon and is founded in the word of God. Any other foundation will crumble and will let you down and put you in bondage. Evaluate what you believe and how you behave through the filter of the word.