"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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What defiles a person
Mark 7:1-23 Commentary
by Elizabeth Shively
This passage shows us a response to one issue within first-century Judaism, which was hardly homogenous across the Greco-Roman world.
In this brief commentary, we will give attention to how the passage fits into Mark's story of Jesus in order to grasp its literary and theological purpose, and explore it claim upon us today.
The controversy over Pharisaic tradition and what constitutes defilement follows a section in the Gospel about Jesus' powerful works and growing popularity in a Jewish region (6:7-56). After Jesus is rejected at Nazareth, he sends the Twelve on a successful mission in which they imitate his ministry of preaching, exorcisms, and healing. The word about Jesus continues to spread (see 1:21-28, where his fame begins). People start to speculate -- even important people like Herod Antipas -- about what kind of important figure Jesus could be (6:14). Could he be John the Baptist returned from the grave? Or, could he be Elijah, the herald of the Messiah? Or could he be a prophet, perhaps one like Moses? Jesus miraculously multiplies bread for a hungry multitude, confirming his importance, ...
| Bible Text
Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 024: What defiles a person
February 12, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is What defiles a person: Mark 7:1-23.