It’s widely believed that the apostle Peter influenced the Gospel of Mark. As I was reading the parable of Unwashed hands in Mark today (Mark 7:1-23), a question popped into my head when I read these two verses.

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

Mark 7:18-19 (NIV)

The question popped into my head: If Peter was the witness for the Gospel of Mark and told Mark what Jesus said about clean and unclean food, then why do we have Acts 10:9-16 and the vision of the sheet? If Peter was still calling food clean and unclean in Acts, why does he give Mark the clarification of when Jesus declared all foods clean?

The most logical response that came to mind was that Peter didn’t get what Jesus was talking about in Mark when Jesus was talking about clean and unclean things. It’s like this verse from John.

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

John 12:16 (NIV)

One might also say that Mark 7:18-19 is like Jesus rebuking Peter in Mark 8:33 after Jesus predicted his death.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Mark 8:33 (NIV)

Peter’s testimony to Mark wasn’t given to spare him any loss of face. It was given as a faithful and humble witness to what had happened. Mark 7:17 tells us the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus had said about clean and unclean foods. This tells us that Peter didn’t understand what Jesus was saying about clean and unclean things until Acts 10.

After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.

Mark 7:17 (NIV)

Therefore, it makes sense that Peter didn’t get it at the time. However, instead of stopping there, I decided to look further into my question. 

None of the commentators I read brought up anything about my question, so I decided to do a Google search and see what people had to say about Mark 7:18-19. 

Have you ever heard it said that you shouldn’t pull a loose thread on a sweater because it will unravel the sweater? How about the expression about opening a can of worms? In delving into Mark 7:18-19, I quickly saw that almost 2,000 years after the glorification of Christ, people are still arguing about what we should eat or not eat. 

I’m not going to address any of the claims that there are certain foods we should and shouldn’t eat. At least not directly. I would, however, like to point out what the Bible says about how the righteous will live.

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NIV)

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 1:17 (NIV)

Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Galatians 3:11 (NIV)

And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

Hebrews 10:38 (NIV)

The righteous person will live by faith. This is why God commended Abram.

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6 (NIV)

Therefore, since the righteous person will live by faith, what does the Bible say about being salvation through the law of Moses?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast (emphasis added).

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (emphasis added).

Galatians 2:16 (NIV)

Given that the righteous will live by faith and are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, anything that deviates from faith in Christ is not of Christ. Therefore, it is not sufficient to save, and arguments about food, washing hands, or anything else that is works based is futile, unnecessary, and a distraction to what is really important. 

Loving the Lord with all of our hearts, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves because “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.