Mark 7:6-7 is one of the most terrifying and sobering texts in all of Scripture. In it Jesus exposes both the soul-shrinking wretchedness of “religion” and the horror of hypocrisy. Continue reading . . .
Mark 7:6-7 is one of the most terrifying and sobering texts in all of Scripture. In it Jesus exposes both the soul-shrinking wretchedness of “religion” and the horror of hypocrisy. Look at it with me:
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6b-7).
Religion distorts the meaning of worship, leading people to believe that merely conforming to an external standard or observing a ritual can compensate for the absence of an internal spiritual passion.
This passage is frightening because it tells us that it is possible to think we are honoring God by using the appropriate words, singing orthodox and doctrinally deep songs, and praying articulate and passionate prayers, all the while our heart is miles away. Think about it for a moment: you can give every external appearance of drawing near to God in worship when in fact your heart is distant and disengaged and all that you do actually dishonors him!
You can faithfully attend services every time the church door is open, diligently engage in a small group, touch all the spiritual bases, so to speak, and dishonor God in doing so!
Jesus quotes from Isaiah 29 and in doing so indicts and dismisses what to all external appearances seems to be orthodox and God-honoring “worship”. What’s wrong with the kind of “worship” that Jesus describes here? The answer is simple: the heart isn’t engaged! Worship, at its core, is an affair of the heart, which is to say it is a matter of the inner depths of our being: mind, a