What goes into a man does not defile him (Mk 7:18-7:18)

“Jesus said

To the disciples.

‘Then do you also

Fail to understand?

Do you not realize

That whatever goes

Into a person

From outside

Cannot defile him.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀσύνετοί ἐστε; οὐ νοεῖτε ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἔξωθεν εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς τὸν ἄνθρωπον οὐ δύναται αὐτὸν κοινῶσαι,

 

There was something similar to this earlier in chapter 7:15. Matthew, chapter 15:11 also has something like this.  Mark said that Jesus reprimanded them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) for their lack of discernment or understanding (Οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀσύνετοί ἐστε).  Did they not realize that whatever went into a person from outside (οὐ νοεῖτε ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἔξωθεν εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς τὸν ἄνθρωπον) could not make them impure, unclean or a defiled person (οὐ δύναται αὐτὸν κοινῶσαι).  Thus, spiritual purity was more important than physical purity.  It is not what you put into your body, such as unclean food, that polluted or defiled a person.

What defiles a person? (Mk 7:15-7:15)

“There is nothing

Outside a person

That by going in

Can defile.

But the things

That come out

Are what defiles.”

 

οὐδέν ἐστιν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς αὐτὸν ὃ δύναται κοινῶσαι αὐτόν· ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόμενά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:11.  Mark indicated that Jesus went back to the problem of impurity, unclean or defiled people.  Thus, spiritual purity was more important than physical purity.  Jesus said that that there was nothing from the outside of a person (οὐδέν ἐστιν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) that could enter into him that was able to defile him (εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς αὐτὸν ὃ δύναται κοινῶσαι αὐτόν).  Rather, it is what comes out bursting forth from a person (ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόμενά) that defiles, pollutes or makes a man or person unclean (ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  It is not what you put into your mouth that makes you unclean, it is what comes out of your mouth that makes you unclean or defiled.

Only the family was there (Mk 5:40-5:40)

“They laughed

At Jesus.

Then he put them

All outside.

He took

The child’s father

And mother,

And those who were with him.

He went in

Where the child was.”

 

καὶ κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ. αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν πάντας παραλαμβάνει τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδίου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ τοὺς μετ’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰσπορεύεται ὅπου ἦν τὸ παιδίον.

 

This episode of the crowd laughing at Jesus and he telling them all to leave is similar to what can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:24-25, and Luke, chapter 8:51-53.  Mark said that they laughed at him or ridiculed him (καὶ κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ).  This will not be the only time that people ridicule Jesus and his disciples.  Jesus had the crowd of people put outside (αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν πάντας).  He then took the child’s father and mother, and those who were with him, his 3 trusted apostles (παραλαμβάνει τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδίου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ τοὺς μετ’ αὐτοῦ,).  They went in where the child was (καὶ εἰσπορεύεται ὅπου ἦν τὸ παιδίον).  Jesus had gotten rid of the mourners and skeptics, as he now had the true believers with him and the little girl.

The secret of the parables (Mk 4:11-4:11)

“Jesus said to them.

‘To you

Has been given

The secret

Of the kingdom of God.

But for those outside,

Everything comes

In parables.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:11, and Luke, chapter 8:10, almost word for word, as here in MarkMark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that they had been given the secret mysteries about the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of heaven as in Matthew (Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  However, this was not granted to those outside this disciple group (ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω).  For them, everything was still in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται).  Only those on the inside would understand the parables or riddles, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these parables.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries of God.

His family asks for Jesus (Mk 3:32-3:32)

“A crowd

Was sitting

Around Jesus.

They said to him.

‘Look!

Your mother,

Your brothers,

And your sisters

Are outside,

Asking for you.’”

 

καὶ ἐκάθητο περὶ αὐτὸν ὄχλος, καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαί σου ἔξω ζητοῦσίν σε.

 

Luke, chapter 8:20, and Matthew, chapter 12:47, have something similar, almost word for word, so that Mark might be the source of this saying.  Mark indicated that someone from the crowd sitting around him (καὶ ἐκάθητο περὶ αὐτὸν ὄχλος) said that he should look (καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ) because his mother (ἡ μήτηρ σου), his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου), and his sisters (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαί σου) were outside (ἔξω) wanting to talk to him or searching for him (ζητοῦσίν σε).  Matthew and Luke never mentioned anything about his sisters, only his brothers, who were all unnamed.

Scribes and Pharisees complained (Mk 2:16-2:16)

“When the Scribes

And the Pharisees,

Saw

That he was eating

With sinners

And tax collectors,

They said

To his disciples.

‘Why does he eat

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν, ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει;

 

Luke, chapter 5:30, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it is only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  These Pharisees and Scribes saw this dinner party (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες) from the outside.  They saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors (ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν).  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus (ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners (Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει)?  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.

The first denial (Mt 26:69-26:70

“Now Peter

Was sitting outside

In the courtyard.

A servant girl

Came up to him.

She said.

‘You also were

With Jesus

The Galilean.’

But he denied it

Before all of them.

He said.

‘I do not know

What you are talking about.’”

 

Ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐκάθητο ἔξω ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ· καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη λέγουσα Καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου.

ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο ἔμπροσθεν πάντων λέγων Οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:66-68, and Luke, chapter 22:56-57, but Peter was warming himself and the cock crowed in MarkJohn, chapter 18:17, has a simple denial.  Matthew said that Peter was sitting outside in the high priest’s courtyard (Ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐκάθητο ἔξω ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ).  Then a young servant girl or maid of the high priest came up to him (καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη).  She said that Peter had been with Jesus, the Galilean (λέγουσα Καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου).  However, he denied it in front of all of them (ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο ἔμπροσθεν πάντων), as he said that he did not know what they were talking about (λέγων Οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις).  This first denial story of Peter, the great leader, was in all 4 gospels.

The inside and outside of the cup (Mt 23:25-23:26)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You clean

The outside

Of the cup

And of the plate.

But inside,

They are full

Of greed

And self-indulgence.

You blind Pharisees!

First cleanse

The inside

Of the cup

And of the plate.

Thus,

The outside

May be clean also.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ ἀκρασίας.

Φαρισαῖε τυφλέ, καθάρισον πρῶτον τὸ ἐντὸς τοῦ ποτηρίου ἵνα γένηται καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς αὐτοῦ καθαρόν.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:39-40, but Jesus was eating with the Pharisees there.  Here, Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, and 15.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was against the Pharisees for their impure hearts or intentions.  They cleaned the outside of the cup and the plate (ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος), but let the inside remain full of greed or robbery and self-indulgence (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ ἀκρασίας).  Jesus called them blind Pharisees (Φαρισαῖε τυφλέ).  He reminded them to first clean the inside of their cups and their plates (ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος,).  Then. the outside would be clean also (ἵνα γένηται καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς αὐτοῦ καθαρόν).  Their interior heart was important.

The tenants kill the landowner’s son (Mt 21:37-21:39)

“Finally,

The landowner sent

His son

To them.

He said.

‘They will respect

My son.’

But when the tenants

Saw the son,

They said to themselves.

‘This is the heir!

Come!

Let us kill him!

We will get

His inheritance!’

They seized him.

They cast him out

Of the vineyard.

They killed him.”

 

ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων Ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.

οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος· δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν καὶ σχῶμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ·

καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.

 

This parable of the killing of the landowner’s son can be found in Mark, chapter 12:6-8, and Luke, chapter 20:13-15, almost word for word.  Finally, this landowner sent his own son to these wicked tenants (ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ).  He said to himself that they would respect his son (Ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου).  Instead, when the tenants saw the son of the landowner (οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν), they said to themselves (εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς) that he was the heir (Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος).  They were going to kill him (δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν), thinking that they would get his inheritance (καὶ σχῶμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were really dumb.  Thus, they seized his son (καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν) and cast him out of the vineyard (ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος), where they killed him (καὶ ἀπέκτειναν).  The meaning of this parable was becoming clearer.  The landowner was God the Father.  The tenants were the Jewish religious leaders.  The slaves were the Israelite prophets.  Jesus was the son of the Father.  He was killed outside of Jerusalem, the vineyard.  Clearly, Jesus would not have to explain this parable to his disciples and apostles.

Family conflict (Mt 10:35-10:36)

“I have come

To set a man

Against his father.

I have come

To set a daughter

Against her mother.

I have come

To set a daughter-in-law

Against her mother-in-law.

A man’s foes

Will be members

Of his own household.”

 

ἦλθον γὰρ διχάσαι ἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ θυγατέρα κατὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς καὶ νύμφην κατὰ τῆς πενθερᾶς αὐτῆς,

καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:53, indicating a Q source.  However, it is also similar to what Jesus, via Matthew, had said in chapter 10:21, and Mark, chapter 13:12, as well as much like the Old Testament prophet Micah, chapter 7:6, where this prophet warned that they should not trust anyone in their own family.  Jesus may be the disrupter in their own family, not the peacemaker.  Jesus here said that he came to set a man against his father (ἦλθον γὰρ διχάσαι ἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ), a daughter against her mother (καὶ θυγατέρα κατὰ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς), and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (καὶ νύμφην κατὰ τῆς πενθερᾶς αὐτῆς).  Thus, the most ferocious enemies will be members of their own household (καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ).  People always look outside for enemies, but sometimes they may be right beside them in their own family.