Page 8 - July 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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n the spiritual conflict for truth, the   is that the “religious” thinking of the
            Lord and His disciples faced differing   Pharisees, who enforced extra-biblical
        Iideologies. Herod’s “political” think-  regulations to preserve from laxness in
        ing meant that he rejected truth when his   observing Scripture, was also opposed to
        reputation was threatened, and the death   truth. Mark begins by recording the Lord’s
        of John the Baptist was the result. As we   exposure of:
        come into Mark chapter 7, Herod’s opposi-  The Enmity of the Pharisees (7:1-13)
        tion gives way to a confrontation with the
        religious elite.                        The critical eye of the Jewish fact-
          The Lord’s fame made Him a target   finding mission swept over the healing of
        for Pharisees and scribes “which came   the sick and the feeding of the hungry. It
        from Jerusalem” (v1).  These fact-finders   did not rest on the miraculous evidences
        were, in reality, fault-finders, and the Lord   of the Lord’s messianic identity or even,
        exposes their enmity to the truth (7:1-13).   at a more basic level, on His blessing of
        Subjects of particular relevance to Phari-  the multitudes. Determined to find fault,
        sees are then dealt with. The Lord chal-  they discovered an infringement of the
        lenges externalism (7:14-23). He directs a   tradition of the elders. They asked, “Why
        blow at exclusivism (7:24-30). In healing the   walk not thy disciples according to the
        deaf and dumb man, He confronts the ego-  tradition of the elders, but eat bread with
        tism that would refuse to accommodate to   unwashen hands?” (v5). It’s important to
        others’ needs (7:31-37). At the conclusion,   understand that this was not an issue of
        He circles back to the topics of exclusivism   personal hygiene. The Pharisees believed
        and externalism as He feeds four thousand   that observing a strict procedure in wash-
        (8:1-9) and rebukes the Pharisees’ preoc-  ing your hands made you religiously fit to
        cupation with signs (8:10-13).        partake of food. This strict procedure had
          This chiastic structure places emphasis   not been observed by the disciples.
        on the central point: the problem of Ego-  The Lord responded to their criticism
        tism. There is little doubt that the Phari-  robustly. After calling them hypocrites, or
        sees’ root problem was pride.         play-actors, He revealed Scripture’s view of
                                              them (vv6-7) by quoting from Isaiah: “This
        The Conflict: Pharisees (7:1-8:13)    people honoureth me with their lips, but

          Most of us recognise the “political”   their heart is far from me. Howbeit in
        thinking of Herod as being opposed to   vain they do worship me, teaching for
        truth. But what may not be so obvious   doctrines the commandments of men.”
        ¹ All Scripture quotations in this article are from   Their religion was merely external and
        the KJV unless otherwise noted.       built upon the words of men.

        200 TRUTH kTidings   July  2021
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