Jesus challenges us to be concerned about the right things. Jesus is direct in his message to us. No mistaking what He is saying at all.
It is all about the heart. God’s goal for us is to be pure. We desperately need a pure heart. Jesus knows this and gives us His Holy Spirit to make it happen.
- Is what is coming out of us from a “pure of heart”?
- Or are we spewing forth “vomit from the heart”?
Jesus gives us a long list to be concerned about. Obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, and foolishness.
- We worry about how we look.
- We struggle to create a perception of a good life when at our core we have a problem.
- GOD sees the heart.
- GOD knows our heart.
- We can’t fool Him.
God’s goal: We must change our mind about what is important. We must focus on getting right with GOD. GOD has a wonderful goal in mind for us. He wants us to be right with Him. We can be through Jesus, the Messiah.
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.
Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Mark 7:20–23). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Our Master’s explanation was given privately to His disciples when they asked Him “concerning the parable.” His explanation seems obvious to us, but we must remember that these twelve men had been brought up under the strict Jewish dietary code that categorized all foods as either “clean” or “unclean”. Peter kept a kosher household for years even after he had heard this truth. It is not easy to change our religious traditions.
The human heart is sinful and produces all manner of evil desires, thoughts, and actions, everything from murder to envy. Yeshua [Jesus] had no illusions about human nature, as do some liberal theologians and humanistic teachers today. He realized that man is a sinner, unable to control or change his own nature; and that is why Jesus came to earth—to die for lost sinners.
The Jewish dietary laws were given by God to teach His chosen people to make a difference between what was clean and what was unclean. No doubt there were also some practical reasons involved, such as sanitation and health. To disobey these laws was a matter of ceremonial defilement, and that was an external matter. Food ends up in the stomach, but sin begins in the heart. The food we eat is digested and the waste evacuated, but sin remains and it produces defilement and death.
This dramatic lesson on “truth vs. tradition” could only irritate the Jewish religious leaders more and make them want to silence Jesus. This increased opposition was the reason why He departed from the crowded places and took His disciples into Gentile territory.
God wants us to be pure. He will wash our hearts and make it so. In Jesus, we have been cleansed from our sin.
- Psalm 26:6 (NASB) —I shall wash my hands in innocence, And I will go about Your altar, O Master,
- Psalm 51:2 —Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.