As I prepare my message for next Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, on Mark 7:14-23, I was thinking what a shock it must have been for the Jewish people to hear Jesus tell them that all of their ceremonial and Kosher Laws were to no avail for righteousness! That's like telling Christians today that drinking and smoking are oaky while going to church doesn't make you better in God's eyes. We all want our good behavior to count for something but we always want to ignore the effects of our bad bahavior.
For the Pharisees who rejected Jesus, they were in for a big surprise because they thought they were better than Jesus because of their observnaces of the Law. Jesus was calling them to a greater holiness that could not be obtained on theor own–one given by Jesus to those who trust in Him. Even today, we cannot rely on our good habts and traditions to get in good with God. We still need Jesus' love, forgiveness and the holiness He won for us on the cross in order to approach God.
And that's the Good news–Jesus makes us clean inside out!