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Jewish religious leaders came from Jerusalem to Galilee where Jesus was to see for themselves the reports they were hearing about him (v. 1). Pharisees followed the OT Law, adding hundreds of their own commands to it (“traditions”) and interpreting the OT Law by their commands. Scribes were leaders of the Pharisees.
The Pharisees condemned Jesus and his disciples as Law-breakers because they did not follow their traditions (vv. 2-5). Jesus, however, condemned them for elevating their man-made ideas above God’s commands (vv. 6-13). Jesus also pointed out that one’s standing before God is not affected by the kinds of food one eats, but by the spiritual condition of one’s heart and life (vv. 14-23). (The correct location of the end of Jesus’ words in v. 19 is after “eliminated,” with Mark noting Jesus’ point: “Thus purifying all foods.”)
In verses 24-30, a Gentile woman asked Jesus to deliver her daughter from demon possession. Jesus’ response in verse 27 emphasizes that the primary, not exclusive focus of his ministry at that point was to Jews, not Gentiles. Her belief that he was the Messiah, however, resulted in Jesus granting her request.
Jesus then healed a man who could not hear or speak (vv. 31-35). Jesus’ actions in verse 33 helped the man believe in him—the fingers in the ears indicated they would be cleared, and the saliva on the tongue showing it would return to normal use. Jesus’ instruction in verse 36 were given because people needed to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, not merely as a miracle worker.
Truths to Nail Down and Apply
- Whenever man makes his ideas “equal” with God’s, God’s truth is always rejected. Beware of falling into this trap!
- People must believe in who Jesus is—the eternal God who became man, the only Lord and Savior. Beware of focusing only on the effects of Jesus’ salvation at the expense of forgetting who Jesus is.
- After his resurrection Jesus did command his followers to spread the message of who he is far and wide (Acts 1:8).