xrayMark 7:1-15 The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. They noticed that some of his disciples weren’t being careful with ritual washings before meals. The Pharisees—Jews in general, in fact—would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they’d give jugs and pots and pans). The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?” Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact:

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.”

 He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command, so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions! Moses said, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, ‘Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”

Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”

In the 1978 film, Superman—The Movie, Superman was given x-ray vision, to see through walls and catch the criminals on the other side.  Advertising, at that time, offered young readers of comics the chance to buy ‘x-ray specs’ for a small fee—they didn’t work.

Jesus didn’t have x-ray glasses; he didn’t need them, he knew the condition of the heart.  The Pharisees were all about the external traditions and ignored or manipulated God’s commandments for their own benefit or convenience.

Should you wash your hands before eating—absolutely. Should you allow God to clean the heart—what do you think?

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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