Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Mark 7:17-23 (ESV) And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.  And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,  since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.)  And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." “Thus He declared all foods clean." It's sort of funny. This is Peter’s Gospel. At least that is how Peter regarded it. We know this from the writings of Eusebius who records Papias, who leaves a written account concerning Peter and Mark. Mark was Peter’s disciple, and wrote the gospel piecing together what Peter had said of Christ. In any case I say that is funny, because Peter recording this, and it was Peter who received the vision and went to the Centurion Cornelius’s house, knowing that all food was clean. But it was Peter who Paul had to admonish for falling into the temptations of the Judaizers, for making the kingdom of God about food and drink. But man seems to always have this backwards. We are much too proud of ourselves. We like to think our intentions are good. We like to think our hearts are worthy gifts for God. The problems with our hearts, is they are sinful by nature. This sin taints the best of our intentions, which normally end up showing themselves in foolishness. Foolishness, isn’t that one a humdinger. I mean here is a list of sins that just lists one bad thing after another, and ends with foolishness. Foolishness, when was the last time you found that to be evil? God puts in on par with adultery here. That’s nuts! It’s crazy! We write foolishness off as being more or less harmless, a source of entertainment, something to be laughed at. Of course that might be an indication of how different our society is from that in which Christ lived. People took themselves a bit more seriously in his day. We would consider bragging the nonchalance way they would blow their own horn. Foolishness was a trap that would fall on them, no one can take pride in foolishness. Well I shouldn’t say no one. But it wasn’t something most would brag about. But then look at foolishness and all the harm it actually does cause, when well meaning people show themselves to be foolish in the execution of their best intentions. How often does it happen that someone has great intentions, but their foolishness actually harms their cause rather than helping it? I can chock a lot of bad moments in life, to foolishness, naivety, stupidity, and being wet behind the ears. And when I see at times how my foolishness has effected the lives of others, especially as a pastor, getting into quarrels that I should have avoided, because I was foolish. How my foolishness as a young naïve pastor sunk my first couple years of confirmation classes, or caused some to leave, when I rather would have had them stay, because I was foolish in the way I handled their problems. Now I know how evil foolishness really is, and how evil I am. Well that right there is a foolish statement, I doubt I’ll ever have plumbed the depths of my foolishness, I doubt I’ll ever plumb the depths or sin and evil within me. So thanks be to God, it is not what goes out of a man that cleanses him, but what comes in, his body and his blood, which when I eat defiles me not, but forgives my sins and cleanses my soul.