Eating With Unwashed Hands

Mark 7:1-23

The Problem Confronted (1-5)

The Pharisees and the scribes saw the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ eating with unwashed hands.

They confronted the Lord Jesus Christ.


This washing had nothing to do with cleaning the hands.

It was a ceremonial cleansing.


It involved someone pouring water out of a jar onto another’s hands, whose fingers must be pointing up.

As long as the water dripped off at the wrist, the person could then proceed to the next step.

He then had the water poured over both hands with the fingers pointing down.

Then each hand was to be rubbed with the fist of the other hand.


The problem with this ritual cleaning was that it was not from God.

It was the tradition of the elders.


The Problem Condemned (6-13)

The Lord Jesus Christ condemned their legalism.

He called them hypocrites.

He accused them of elevating their traditions far above the Word of God.

He told them that they had laid aside the commandments of God in favor of their man made rules and traditions.

He told them that they had actually rejected the commandments of God so that they could keep their traditions!


The Lord Jesus also exposed the liberties they took with the Law.


He talked about the practice of “Corban”.

That word means “a gift to God”.


God said in the 5th commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you."

"And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”


Part of the idea of honoring our parents included the necessity of providing for their needs as long as they lived.


But the Jews found a way around it.


They said that their money or possessions was “Corban”.

They could only use them in sacred matters.

Thus they didn’t have to provide for their parents.

They would just tell them that their stuff was dedicated to the Lord and they wouldn’t be getting anything.


The Lord Jesus Christ told them that they had made the Laws of God ineffective by their traditions.


The Problem Clarified (14-23)

The Lord Jesus Christ told the crowds that it is not what comes into the body, like eating with unwashed hands, that causes spiritual defilement.

It is those things that arise from within the heart of a person that defile him or her.


The disciples were confused.

They asked the Lord Jesus Christ about the matter.


The Lord Jesus Christ reminded them that what went into the body passed through the body.

It did not affect the heart, or the inner man.


External things cannot cause spiritual defilement!

Spiritual defilement is always the result of a defiled heart.


Every sin we commit has its origin in our heart.

We do the things we do because of defilement within.


Keeping external rules will not change the heart.


The heart can only be changed, and spiritual defilement cleansed away, by the new birth.


The Lord Jesus Christ is able to take a defiled sinner and wash them in His blood.

He is able to make them a new creature.


The Lord Jesus Christ then gave them some attitudes and actions that could cause spiritual defilement.


The problem with mankind is a problem of the heart.

It is a place where sin originates.

That is the part of man that needs to be changed!


Are we hypocrites?

Are we legalists?

Do we have defiled heart?

Have we truly been born again?

Has the Lord Jesus Christ saved our soul and changed our lives?

Or, have we just been pretending to be believers?


Let us look into our heart now.

What do we find there?


What dwells in our hearts is what we really are!


Let’s obey the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us come to Him now.

Only Him can change our heart!