Mark 7:5-13: How’s Your Heart?
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?” 6 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.”
The Pharisees were known to be men of religious stature following the law to perfection. With such achievement, they took pride in their actions, measuring themselves higher than everybody else. And this is the reason why Jesus was mad with the Pharisees. They couldn’t see how sinful they are because of their legalistic tendencies.
The Pharisees were so concerned with the rituals that they forgot to see the heart of our faith. Pharisees tend to measure spirituality externally and never checking how the heart really is.
I know this to be true because I am one of them. And I am aware of my tendencies to be pharisaical. I have to remind myself of the gospel every day and be made aware of how amazing and lavish God has showered His grace on me that I should not take pride in the things I do for God but only boast of the things He has done for me.
Jesus said, that we can honor him with our lips but our hearts can be far from Him. This is a warning for all of us who seem externally okay with the Lord but deep inside we know that we are spiritually dry and malnourished.
Lord, I pray that I won’t measure my spirituality and faith externally but let my faith that comes from you grow inside my heart so that it may exude life and faith to the people around me. I pray that my faith will grow this year and that I would not allow my religious duties to be the measurement if I am right with you. Rather may my worship and service to you be an expression of my growing faith and walk with Jesus.