The book of Mark has been a bit of a roller-coaster, and today is no exception. Today we see how the Pharisees got it wrong, how Jesus seems to test someone’s faith, and I share some personal ideas, which you may or may not like. Here goes.
Let’s start with the first story. Jesus talks about food, but we as Christians don’t really have any ‘unclean’ foods (or at least I hope we don’t), so I’d like to take it one step further. Jesus says that they skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to their own tradition. Now does that sound more familiar in Christian circles? I have been into so many churches, where traditions, other beliefs, and political correctness outweigh the Word of God. When I hear of practices which I have not seen in the Bible, I ask people why they do that, and the answers are usually less than satisfying. “We’ve always done this”, “The priest or pastor told us to”, “This is regulation from the Government”. Now I am not adversed to doing things the way we have done it, or listening to our pastor or priest, or even obeying the Government, but when it differs from the Word of God, I will oppose it. The other side of this is ‘keeping the outside clean, while the inside rots’. Now I don’t believe that I have a ‘rotten inside’, because I am born again, and I have been made righteous by Jesus’ blood. Yes, I still sin, but I am no longer a sinner. When I was unsaved, any number of righteous acts, would not make me righteous. Now that I am born again, sin does not make me a sinner, I am forgiven. Having said this, sin still gives a foothold to the enemy, and we need to eradicate it. The problem is that most of us are often dishonest. How many times have you seen people who appear ‘holier than thou’ at church, and then you find out that they have been committing horrendous acts? I have seen it many times. Now I don’t believe that they weren’t saved, I just think that they should have spent more time removing the sin, than covering it up. They wanted to appear like they were doing the right thing to others, but surely actually doing it would have been better? The guilt of this when you are ‘caught out’ is immense. Trust me. I have lost two friends to suicide after people found out the truth. Don’t worry about what others think, get yourself right with God, and stop sinning for yourself.
I like the next story, of the woman who comes to ask Jesus to cast out a demon. Now my Bible’s study notes say that the point of this is to show that Jesus doesn’t need to be near the demon to cast it out. Yes, that is true, but I don’t think that is the point of this story. She asks Jesus to cast out a demon, and Jesus challenges her. “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” Wow, I wouldn’t imaging Jesus saying this. I like her response though, as did Jesus. “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” Jesus then commends her answer, and casts out the demon. So what is this all about? Be honest, have you ever wished that you could be healed/prospered/delivered/saved but don’t think that you deserve it? I believe that Jesus was testing her, whether to see if she had faith or determination is up to you, but she passed. Now Jesus was talking about the Jews being His children, but we have now all been given that invitation. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you are a child of God. Why would you not deserve that which Jesus died for? Even the ‘dogs’ could get in on the action, why not you? We just need to believe and have faith that we will receive what Jesus did for us.
That leads me nicely to my final point. Now this is my thought, I am not stating this as fact. In fact, I would like to get your ideas on this too. Why did Jesus stick His fingers in the man’s ears, spit on His fingers and stick them on the guys tongue? If I tried that here, I’d be arrested in violation of health and safety rules. Maybe that is why Jesus took Him away from the people. Why do this? Here is my thought, again don’t get upset if you disagree, just comment and let me know what you think. I think that faith is needed to see a miracle. Go and look at every healing in the Bible. Something is done in faith. Either the person comes to Jesus in faith, stops crying in faith, says something in faith, persists in faith, or does an action if faith. Now this man wasn’t coming to Jesus, others asked Jesus to heal him. The man had not heard Jesus (assumed as he was deaf), the man could not speak in faith (assumed as he was mute), so some action of faith needed to be taken. Think of the other man who Jesus ordered to go and was his eyes after Jesus put the mud on them. That was an action of faith, to show that he believed what Jesus had said. This is the rule. This is how the Kingdom of God works, through faith. I think that Jesus couldn’t break His own rule, so He acted in faith when the man couldn’t. That is why He did what he did. What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Anyhow, what have we learned today. Know the Word, believe what Jesus has said, and have faith to receive and do what Jesus has provided and called us to do.