Daily Reading & Prayer

Mark 7

July 5, 2024

Read: Mark 7

Mark 7:6-9 “He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain, their teachings are merely human rules. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’ And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’” 


Orthodox Jews have traditions for every part of life—how to eat, work, and play. Traditions aren't bad in themselves; we also have meaningful traditions in the Christian church. Reciting the Apostles' Creed, singing the doxology, and observing the Lord's Supper are all traditions that connect us to our faith and heritage. However, in Jesus' time, religious leaders created many man-made rules that overshadowed God's true commandments.

Jesus pointed this out when the Pharisees criticized his disciples for not following the ritual of washing hands before eating. This wasn't about cleanliness but about ceremonial purity. The Pharisees believed that following these rituals equated to obedience to God. However, Jesus showed that their traditions had become more important than the commandments they were supposed to reflect. For example, the practice of declaring property as "Corban" allowed people to commit food, money or property to the temple – even if it meant they could no longer support their needy parents. This tradition that was meant to be an act of worship was now being misused to avoid responsibility.

Jesus' confrontation with the Pharisees reveals that God desires genuine devotion, not just outward compliance. The Pharisees looked religious but missed the heart of God's law. Jesus compared them to those condemned by Isaiah: outwardly pious but inwardly distant from God.

True obedience comes from a heart transformed by grace, not just from following rules.

We all tend to rely on our own efforts rather than accepting God’s grace. Jesus didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners. Recognizing our need for him is crucial. If our faith is about appearances and traditions rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus, we risk becoming modern-day Pharisees. Let’s ensure our practices and traditions reflect true, heartfelt devotion to God.


Are you going through the motions? Prioritize heart transformation over external compliance. Pray for a heart that genuinely seeks God and his will.


Jesus, examine my heart and reveal areas where I rely on tradition instead of your grace. Protect me from the trap of legalism and remind me that your love and acceptance are gifts, not something I can earn. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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