“Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Mark 7:6 NLT
It’s day seven of “Mark, one chapter ad day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them HERE. We’d love for you to join us!
Today while I was reading I was mostly drawn to verses 1-23, honing in on verse six.
Once again, I’ll be sharing today using the quiet time format for this reading plan, an acronym for M.A.R.K. (see image below). Patterning your time in the Word with a structure similar to this one will help you interact with it and not merely read it and forget about it. The Word of God is so powerful, and the Lord wants nothing more than to see you ask him to be your teacher so he can guide you into his truth, I am just here to encourage you along the way!
My verse: “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6 NLT
I love how Jesus cuts straight to the heart when the Pharisees try and convict the disciples of not performing the ceremonial hand washing ritual before eating. How dry and surface level the religious people had become back then! Jesus used this opportunity to explain to them how they had been side-stepping God’s law and substituting their own man-made traditions.
Application: Let God do a heart checkup on you every morning to get rid of anything that will hinder you from fulfilling the greatest commandment:
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 2:29-31 NLT
There are some beautiful scriptures that the forerunners of our faith recorded long ago which are perfect to pray during these heart checkups. Here is my favorite:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Then, ask the Lord to help you to love him and others more than you did yesterday. Because of what Jesus did, we don’t have to clean ourselves up before we come to him. We come as we are and trust that his blood covers the sin that easily entangles and threatens to harden our hearts and keep them blocked off from his love. We come everyday, and everyday, he melts away the hardness and makes our hearts soft and loving.
Review: The ceremony the Pharisees loved was supposed to be an outward symbol of an inward process that wasn’t taking place in their hearts, and Jesus saw right through it. When the religious people tried to condemn Jesus and his followers for not following the age-old hand washing ceremony, Jesus used it as an opportunity to rebuke them for their hard hearts that cared more about man made ideas than God’s commands.
Kneel in prayer: Lord, we praise you for being more concerned about our hearts being close to you than our religious traditions. As we approach your throne this Easter, please help us all spend time with you, letting you search the deepest places in our hearts that only you can see. Bring out and excavate all things that are taking your place there. Replace it with the love your Holy Spirit produces for you and all people, so we can fulfill the greatest commandment in your strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We are almost halfway through the book of Mark! I’d love to hear which verse spoke to you today!
What’s next at Refocused Bible Study for the month of April?!
Spring has sprung, and not only are there bunnies hopping around in the green grass, there are dust bunnies on my furniture. The animals are popping their heads back up from their underground burrows and living life again, but the piles of stuff under the beds in my house haven’t seen the light of day since long before winter started. My heart sinks when I think about all that needs to get done in my house. It’s time for a
But why spend so many hours mindlessly going through our houses when we can pray scripture that will bring a powerful cleansing of our Spirit and our family’s spirits as we bag up, scrub, and shine our way to a clean house and clean hearts!
Here at Refocused Bible Study, starting April 9th, I will be blogging through this journey to a clean heart and home! I wrote a 4 week bible study available HERE, titled, “Spring Cleaning for your heart and home: Praying your way to a clean house.” Get it here and let’s get ready for a heart & home cleansing!