Archive for category Ritual Cleansing
Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications
Spencer W. Kimball
“Transgression and uncleanness and filth are found in all sexual sins. In clarifying a parable, the Savior said: .
‘.. Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.’ (“mark 7:21″mark 7:22″mark 7:23Mark 7:21-23.)
“It is not the soil of earth or the grease on a person’s hands that defile him; nor is it the fingernails ‘edged in black,’ the accumulated perspiration from honest toil, or the body odor resulting from heavy work. One may bathe hourly, perfume oneself often, have hair shampooed frequently, have fingernails manicured daily, and be a master at soft-spoken utterances, and still be as filthy as hell’s cesspools. What defiles is sin, and especially sexual sin.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 62)
Reflection: From their hearts. One is right before God not because of the clean food one eats or because of the washing ritual prescribed by the Pharisees. What matters is conversion or change of heart. To be a child of God and a disciple of Jesus is to have a contrite heart and to live an honest and holy life.
We can all relate with God and enter into communion with God. We are not categorized as clean or unclean. We can share in God’s life and work in God’s vineyard. Jesus calls for purity of heart which expresses itself in inspiring others, doing good for others, caring for people in need, forgiving, and seeking forgiveness.
What is in your heart? What comes out of your lips?
“In the court of most Jewish homes sat water pots. These stored water not only for cleansing and cooking, but also for the ritual washing of the hands and feet of guests. The host would show respect for the guest by offering a filled pot, and the guest would plunge the lower part of both arms into the water, which ceremonially washed off any pagan contamination. It was also the practice among many Jews to so wash before eating. The criticism leveled at the Lord about the disciples eating grain in a field without first washing had to do with this practice. (See Mark 7:1–5.)
“The custom of ritual washing required a great amount of water if one entertained many guests. Thus, the water pots were often quite large. At the marriage feast in Cana, during which Jesus performed his first miracle (see John 2:1–11), John tells us that there were six empty water pots ‘after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece’ (John 2:6). Firkin translates the Greek word metretes, a unit of measure equal to about ten (U.S.) gallons. The total amount the six pots held would therefore be between 120 and 180 U. S. gallons.” (Richard D. Draper, “Home Life at the Time of Christ,” Ensign, Sept. 1987, 58)
“The Pharisees and the Essenes…believed in something called the ‘oral’ Law. This was a body of oral traditions which interpreted the written Law of Moses and applied it to new situations. It was often claimed that these traditions had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai; but actually they were attempts of later teachers to ‘fine-tune’ the Law of Moses. This was done (in the absence of revelation) in an effort to extend or even to alter the requirements of the Law in the face of changing social circumstances.” (Stephen E. Robinson, “The Law after Christ,” Ensign, Sept. 1983, 69)
“Often called ‘the tradition of men’ or ‘the traditions of the fathers’ (Mark 7:8; Gal. 1:14.), these interpretations and commentaries on the law in large measure came to govern Jewish life. Had the Pharisees been more intense in their study of the law itself rather than in the commentaries upon it, they might have recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah. And had they been more eager to apply its teachings rather than to seek for further things they could not understand, they might have been able to accept him.” (Robert L. Millet, “Looking beyond the Mark: Why Many Did Not Accept the Messiah,” Ensign, July 1987, 61)
Traditions can be good or bad. The Pharisees are not the only ones guilty of placing traditions before the word of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be hindered and prevented by merely human tradition particularly that deals with ritual purity from knowing, doing and believing what is right, just, and true. There are many Christian, whose faith and commitment, after sacrificing all they have for the work of God, fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions.