After the astounding signs of the feeding of the 5,000 and walking on the water, Mark bounces us back to Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees and Scribes. The contrast is remarkable. In chapter 6 Jesus shows through amazing signs and wonders who he really is and now the Scribes and Pharisees get all petty and start nit picking.
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The Tradition of the Elders.
1Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.3(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands,* keeping the tradition of the elders.4And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].)5So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”6He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.’
8You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”9He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’c11Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’(meaning, dedicated to God),12you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.13You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”14 He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand.15Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
17 When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable.18He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,19 since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)20“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.21 From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,22adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.23All these evils come from within and they defile.”
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