Summary of passage: Again, the Pharisees and teachers of the law are testing Jesus and trying to trap him with legalism. They ask him why his disciples are breaking their tradition (not God’s) of washing their hands before they eat. Jesus calls them hypocrites for they break God’s commandment of honoring your father and mother by turning everything a child does for his parents into a gift devoted to God. Jesus says Isaiah was right when he said they honored God with their mouths but not their hearts (Isaiah 29:13).
3a) Mark explains the Jewish tradition that all Jews do not eat unless they ceremonially wash their hands. Hence, they wanted to know why the disciples were not following Jewish tradition.
b) Jesus replied they were hypocrites and in fact break God’s commandments in favor of tradition. He lists an example of how the Pharisees have twisted the honor your mother and father commandment into gifts to God instead.
4a) One of the Ten Commandments is to “honor your father and mother”. Here, instead of helping their parents, they gave the money to God instead. This contradicted the law because you are called to help others in need. Also, their hearts were in the wrong place. They gave the money to God as mere show, not out of devotion to Him. It was for man they were giving the money.
b) Personal Question. My answer: We are called to give to God but we also called to help others, especially our parents who did everything for us as children. We need to honor them by helping them and giving to them as well in times of need. God knows the heart. He knows if you are giving out of obeying Him or giving to impress others.
5a) People can always just go through the motions when man is watching and pretend to be God’s child when he or she is not. People and/or teachers can twist God’s law like the Pharisees did to be man’s rules instead of God’s. If your heart is not God’s, your actions are all in vain.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I’m always in danger because the devil is always looking to tempt me. I try to remember everything is God’s and He deserves all the praise. I do everything for Him. I think when indifference creeps in, then I’m in trouble, which it does sometimes. But I believe God knows my intentions even when I myself am too lazy to give it all to Him.
Conclusions: I liked reading Mark and learning about Corban. It’s been a while since I’ve read Mark so that was refreshing. I also liked the emphasis on lip service paid to God, which I think we are all guilty of. It’s a good reminder to have Him present in all things you do.
Explanation of Corban from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas & Merrill Tenney:
This is the only time the term “Corban” is used in the Bible. Jesus was referring to the common practice of people who would dedicate their property to the Lord (but still maintaining ownership in the property), which allowed them to claim they had no money or property to support their parents with because the land was already dedicated to the Lord. Once the property was dedicated to the Lord, it was forbidden for humans to use.
This allowed complete disavowal of the commandment while appearing to be extremely pious in the process.
End Notes: Note how the Pharisees traveled up North where Jesus was from Jerusalem. Word is spreading about Jesus and the Pharisees are concerned–so much so they have sent a delegation to check it out. These conflicts with the Pharisees is what got Jesus killed. It was his own people–God’s chosen people and the people whom Jesus had come to save first over the Gentiles–who handed him over to the Romans.
Keeping people away from God with these stupid traditions irritated Jesus as we can see here. Tradition is no where near the same weight as God’s Law and that was Jesus’ point here.