Mark 7 Mark wanted his audience to see that our lips and our outward worship may say we love God, but it is the inward heart that is God’s measuring rod. “God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1Sa 16:7]
What did the religious leaders care about? It was the traditions passed down through the centuries. So they came asking Jesus: “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders.” Their priority was the legalism of rules which cleansed the outward man but failed to seek cleansing of the heart. Jesus caustically rebuked them using Isaiah’s words: you honor me with lip-service, but your heart is caught up in the traditions established by your ancestors. In fact, you are so caught up, you find loopholes to set aside God’s commandments to satisfy your sins. Listen, God sees your heart and what lurks there: evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, covetousness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. In essence, he was recalling [Prov 14:17], “a quick-tempered man acts foolishly.”
When your heart is pure and cleansed, it is revealed in the humility of the heart. To say the words “I love you, God,” but your actions say otherwise is repulsive to God.