Mark 7:18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?
See: Mishnah, Yadaim 1.1, 2.3; log: 2/3 pint, between 10 and 11 ounces
Jesus’ response to Pharisees/scribes: Isaiah was right; more concerned with externals than right-motivated obedience to God
Jesus’ response to people: “nothing that enters a man…”; disciples question Jesus (Matt. 15:12); he then makes it plain, again, Pharisees/scribes are false teachers who refuse to accept truth
then Peter asked for explanation of the “parable” – need audio button: what did disciples’ question about Pharisees “say” about their opinion?
Person(s) being questioned:
the Twelve, not only Peter – “said to them“, “are you…” both plural nouns; “are you..”, “do you not perceive…” 2nd pers. pl. verbs
also, context of question as recorded in Matthew: “his disciples asked him concerning the parable”
Question behind the question:
“Are you thus without understanding just like the scribes and Pharisees?”
then Jesus asks “question behind the question” – “Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?”
Are you struggling with knowing what God really expects? how he defines purity and holiness?
Do you not yet understand the true nature of man? (concepts of original sin, total depravity)
Jesus probably expected “huh?” or blank looks – what they needed to learn involved paradigm shift, radical change to significant part of prevailing worldviews
man not totally corrupt; external actions / rituals essential to earning divine favor (which was possible); other extreme, things done in the body don’t matter, radical distinction between soul and body
too big a shift for Twelve to grasp all at once, would take several years for all pieces to fall into place – enough at first to give major brain pain
these guys especially needed right understanding on this one in order to proclaim a pure gospel – big spiritual principles at stake
Jesus not “wondering” why Twelve don’t seem to grasp his teaching because of how he delivered it – is it a parable or straightforward statement?
Jesus is concerned they have right understanding about Law and Grace, obedience and faith, nature and need – something Pharisees and scribes lacked
OT rituals not ever intended as means to salvation – intended to teach man about God, show him his need for God
if external things cannot defile a person (because they cannot alter his heart), neither can they purify a person – only who/what can change the heart is able to purify / make acceptable to God
need to understand same things as Twelve about man’s nature, true need – e.g. person cleaning up their act is nice but not sufficient
at same time, following all Christian rituals (church attendance, serving in office, Bible study, witnessing, etc.) does not make someone a superstar Christian with greater privileges / benefits
when it comes to conversion, right answer to “what must I do to be saved” is to “trust in what he did for your salvation”