Jesus replied, “You hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote—‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’. You are so busy holding on to the traditions of men that you let go the commandment of God!” Mark 7:6-8
“Sincerely held religious beliefs” are breaking my heart this morning.
Jesus then spelled out in detail evil things that come from man’s hearts and minds. And yes, lust is found in there, and adultery, along with greed, slander, arrogance and folly, lest any of us should boast.
And after Jesus grieved over their dullness of heart, He showed the religious leaders what the commandment of God actually looked like, the love your God and love you neighbor bit: He got up and cast the demon out of the labeled unclean gentile woman’s daughter.
And then he crossed over to Decapolis. And the people implored Him to put His hand on a deaf and dumb man. And Jesus sighed. Matthew Henry’s commentary is interesting: He sighed; not as if He found any difficulty in working this miracle, or obtaining power to do it from His Father; but thus He expressed His pity for the miseries of human life, and His sympathy with the afflicted in their afflictions, as one that was Himself touched with the feeling of their infirmities.
Then, looking up to Heaven, He gave a deep sigh and said to him in Aramaic, “Open!”
And Henry continues: The great command of the gospel, and grace of Christ to poor sinners, is Ephphatha–Be opened. Grotius applies it thus, that the internal impediments of the mind are removed by the Spirit of Christ, as those bodily impediments were by the word of His power.
And every day I wonder if the internet world of information makes me more tender to the children of God and more aware of His great love, or if it, well, makes me sad in a take-my-eyes-off-of-Him sort of way. But, yesterday, a bunch of mugshots was going around and folks were saying imaginable things that made me sad in a take-my-eyes-off-of-Him sort of way. But as I looked in those walleyed shots of misery, I was very aware of a whisper, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
May I look up to Heaven today, seeking proper perspective. And then sigh as He sighed.