¹⁴After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: ¹⁵there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
¹⁶[If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
¹⁷When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.
¹⁸And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, ¹⁹because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)
²⁰And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.
²¹For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, ²²deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.
²³All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
“Man is a disaster for this world,” someone once said.
Jesus calls all the people around at that time to make this clear. After all, what He is going to say concerns everyone.
It is not true that the world, that our environment, that conditions are a disaster for us. Many Christians may think that evil comes from without. They anxiously try to keep it out. But they forget that they themselves are the greatest threat. Evil comes from ourselves (Mark 7:14,15).
The Pharisees and the scribes were careful not to be contaminated (Compare Mark 7:3,4). They had numerous cleansing rituals. But they forgot that they themselves were the worst polluters.
You’re not a pervert because of what you eat. But because of what you do, and what you say. The dirt is in your heart. Every person has in him a poisoned well (Compare Psalm 51:7). Evil bubbles up from within, which Jesus calls by name (Mark 7:21,22).
Back then God had forbidden his people to use certain foods. The intention was that Israel would be different from the rest of the nations. Those laws were a means for that. Jesus also kept those stipulations of his Father (Compare Mark 1:44).
For the congregation of Jesus it still applies that it must be ‘completely different’ (Ephesians 4:20). But that difference is no longer in what we eat (Mark 7:18,19).
The distinction goes much deeper.
The congregation recognizes that our hearts are the source of all evil. That also means that we cannot save ourselves at all (Romans 7:19,24). We must be saved by another (Acts 4:12). Since our inner parts, our heart, our innermost being, has been poisoned, it must be renewed (Compare Ezekiel 36:25-27).
We need forgiveness and cleansing.
We may find all this with Him who told us how it is with us: Jesus, the Christ. He cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7-9).
Questions for self-examination
▪︎ Jesus’ work in our lives is not half work. How does Paul make that clear in 2 Corinthians 5:17?
▪︎ What does that mean for you personally?
▪︎ Thank the Lord Jesus that you may be a new creation.
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