Devotionals

For your students

Mark 7: Are You So Dull?

“After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him “unclean”? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’)” (Mark 7:17-19)

Ouch! I’ve had moments in my life where I might have imagined that Jesus thought I was pretty thick-headed, but it must have stung a little to hear him actually say out loud, “Are you so dull?”

prickly_350Part of the problem was that Jesus’ teaching about food not being able to make you unclean was radically different from what the disciples had grown up believing. It was built into their worldview about both God and food. Jesus’ declaration that all foods were now clean was so startling they had to ask what, exactly, he meant.

Does Jesus sound too harsh to you, given what seems to us like the disciples’ understandable confusion? It might feel that way through the ears of our culture, but Jesus was a teacher, a rabbi, and challenging students with stern questions is often an effective teaching method. It wakes us up, tells us “this is serious,” and helps us to realize that we are NOT too dull. We can get this.

Jesus was never NOT loving or patient or kind. Even his harsh-sounding questions were intended for the disciples’ good.

Think: Do you ever feel a little dull when it comes to understanding some of the hard-to-get words of Jesus? Does that motivate you to work a little harder to figure them out through prayer, research, or asking someone you trust?

Pray: Ask God to help you to keep growing in your understanding of Jesus’ words in the Bible.

Do: Think about Jesus and his disciples next time one of your teachers or coaches asks you a stern or abrupt question.

Posted July 29, 2015

Mark 7: Food is Not the Problem

Posted July 28, 2015

“Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him “unclean” by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him “unclean.” ‘ ” (Mark 7:14-15)

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Mark 7: Good Reasons to Disobey God?

Posted July 27, 2015

“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ . . .” “But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ […]

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Mark 7: Clean Hands Empty Hearts

Posted July 26, 2015

“He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘ “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” You have let go of the commands of God and are holding […]

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Mark 7: Why Not Wash?

Posted July 25, 2015

“So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with “unclean” hands?’ ” (Mark 7:5)

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Mark 7: Looking for Flaws

Posted July 24, 2015

“The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were ‘unclean,’ that is, unwashed.” (Mark 7:1-2)

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Romans 5: Relationship Restored

Posted July 23, 2015

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans […]

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