16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
To the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, what they ate and how they ate it mattered. To keep the law they had lists of things not to eat and very specific ways to wash before they ate. When the disciples of Jesus ate without the ceremonial washing of their hands the Pharisees were incensed and they accused Jesus of not making his disciples wash their hands. Jesus asked them what was more important, what they took in or what came out of them? The disciples were confused and asked Jesus what he meant. This passage is his answer.
I grew up in a church culture that was bent toward the external actions of the Christian. Not that they were Pharisaical in their motives, which I believer were good, but their teaching often created Pharisaical people. We were taught all of the things that were bad for us. The things of this world were bad for us and I am thankful to have been kept from many of those influences. However, we all would have benefited from a greater emphasis on what came out of our hearts. This was the message of Jesus in this passage. For by keeping themselves ceremonially pure, the Pharisees allowed themselves to act and to speak in corrupt ways.
So which is more important, what we eat and do or what we say and how we treat one another? Put that way we all would agree to the latter. So how do we judge one another? Do we judge people by what they do, what they allow, or by what comes out of their hearts? Again, it is easier to judge actions than reactions but according to Jesus, that which comes out of a person is that which defiles them. Let us consider all that comes out of us today and then let us determine how the Lord Jesus might see us.
We had another good service at Sunrise Assisted Living yesterday. I am so thankful for the opportunity week after week to point men and women to Christ and to God’s purposes for their lives. We have seen many men and women turn from a life of religious efforts to faith in Christ alone. Thank you for your prayers for us each week.
On Sunday, my dad fell while trying to step across Jared’s stuff. When he fell he twisted his ankle and now can barely walk on it. Pray for a quick recovery for him. This coming Sunday, the place where dad and mom live has agreed to let dad lead a church service. So at 10:00 Sunday morning he will be leading a service at Plum Creek. They are inviting people there to come and hoping to see people come to Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,