Man Made Tradition & Defilement (Mark 7:1-23)

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 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.) 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?” 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; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 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)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 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.


And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 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, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.“”

- Mark 7:1-23

1. Tradition Adds to God’s Word

-confession *(salvation)
-Sunday morning required
-infant baptism
-no marriage for priests
-Baptized in the name of the father and son and holy spirit

2. Tradition Rejects the Word of God

Corban – Giving an inheritance to the parents

-The Pharisees would get people to emotionally dedicate their inheritance to the temple, making the Pharisees rich. Then when that person felt terrible for yelling at their parents a few days later and wanted to give the money to their parents, they would say. Corban! You said you promised that money. This completely negated the whole purpose of the commandment “Honor your Father and Mother”. This was a legal loophole.

3. Tradition Vainly Worships God

We get so proud of our rules. I do this, I don’t do that. Talk a big talk. . . . . but the heart is not for Jesus. The Pharisee’s tithed on their mint leaves! This was the whole life of the Pharisee. Everything that they did was for vain worship and for the adoration of men. They tithed on their spice rack, they prayed on the street corners, they made terrible faces when they fasted, it was all about how they looked! It was all vanity.

4. Burdens The Believer

Keeping the sabbath was for rest. There ended up being so many rules about what you could do on the sabbath that it was no longer restful.

  • If I don’t have access to the sacraments, can I baptize myself or will I be damned?
  • What if he has serious sin to confess but has no access to a priest in Iraq?
  • How do I make an act of contrition?
  • Can someone who has committed a mortal sin receive Communion if he makes a perfect act of contrition?

“When you were confirmed, you promised to accept the authority of the Church. The Church says you have to go to Mass each Sunday. You promised to accept the authority of the Church, so that makes Mass attendance compulsory for you upon your honor. If I promise to wash your car but fail to do so (because of my choice) then I sin. My promise creates an obligation on my part. It has nothing to do with washing your car; it’s about keeping my promises.”

“My best friend’s mother-in-law wouldn’t let my friend, the bride, dance at her own wedding reception because they did not believe in dancing, not even slow dancing. And it made the bride cry.”

“I have a friend whose parents would not let her trick-or-treat because it was Satan’s birthday.”

“I grew up in a church that focused a lot on what people looked like. I actually remember my Sunday school teacher bringing a brown paper bag to class one morning. She pulled out an apple and an orange and asked us if we could tell the difference between the two. Of course, we said, ‘Yes.’ She then proceeded to tell us how, likewise, you could tell if someone is a Christian in the same way.”

“I remember a church that didn’t let boys and girls swim together because the girls could get pregnant.”

5. Defilement is of the Heart

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