Fourteenth Sunday of Pentecost

Jesus' Disciples Eat without Washing their Hands

Mark 7: 1 - 8, 14 - 15, 21 - 23

Eating became a major issue for the disciples. The Pharisees criticized them for gleaning wheat out of the field to eat out of hand on the Sabbath.

In this lesson, the Pharisees find fault with the disciples for eating without first washing their hands. The Pharisees may have washed their hands, in the way of modern-day Muslims, to the elbows.

The Isaiah passage is Isaiah 29: 13.

Jesus returns to a point that he makes often in his teaching and healing, that the goal of his ministry is always reconciliation with God; his largest concern is to heal those conditions of body and mind that keep people from worship.

At the time of this lesson, Jesus is teaching and healing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the home of many observant Jews who spoke the Aramaic language of Jesus' childhood. Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem had come to northern Palestine to listen to what Jesus had to say.

1. What did the Pharisees ask Jesus?

[The Pharisees asked, "Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?]

2. What did Jesus answer?

[Jesus said, "You are nothing but show-offs!"]

3. What does Jesus say makes us unclean in the sight of God?

[Jesus says that the words that come out of our mouths make us unclean.]

4. What else makes us unclean?

[Jesus says that what makes us unclean are the evil thoughts that come out of our hearts.]

5. What do our evil thoughts do to us?

[Our evil thoughts prevent us from worshiping God.]

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