This is a really interesting way of studying the Bible. The group accepts the Bible as the word of God, so no matter what church we belong to, we can put doctrine to one side and see what comes up.
This week we read through Mark chapter 7 together then discussed the events recorded there. In Mark 7:1, the Scribes and Pharisees criticised the disciples for not washing their hands before they ate. Then Mark 7:3-5 give us some insight into Jewish tradition. Jesus was asked why his disciples weren’t following these traditions and in Mark 7:6 he responded by quoting from the Old Testament prophesy of Isaiah.
Isaiah had prophesied that the Jews would be hypocritical with regard to their worship, so Jesus used scripture to back up his answer.
In verses Mark 7:8-13 Jesus accused the teachers of the law, of adjusting God’s laws to suit themselves. He then made it clear to the crowd that although the Pharisees were concerned about ceremonial cleanness; it’s what comes from a person that makes him unclean. Mark 7:21-23 clarify the situation. Eating without ceremonially washing our hands will not cause us to be unclean in God’s sight because the food goes into our stomach not our heart. When we sin, it is the evil that we devise in our hearts, that make us unclean.
We marvelled at the faith of the Greek woman, whose daughter was healed because her mother wasn’t proud – Mark 7:24-30. Jesus wouldn’t heal her at first because she wasn’t Jewish. His insinuations were met with a very humble response and because of that, her daughter was healed. We felt that Jesus knew how genuine this lady was and that his words were for the benefit of those who were listening.
In the final part of Chapter 7, we read about the healing of a deaf and partially dumb man. We wondered why Jesus didn’t just heal him as he had others. He took this man him aside, put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, then touched the man’s tongue. Only then did he heal him. We deduced that a man who was both deaf and dumb would need to be taken away from noise the crowd and that he communicated what he was doing, by touch. We weren’t sure what the spitting was about though.
Mark 7:36-37 are another example of Jesus telling the people not to tell others about what they had seen. But “ … the more he did so , the more they kept talking about it. They were so “… overwhelmed with amazement ….. He even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”