Jesus called the people to him. Jesus said, "Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not the things a person puts in his mouth that make him wrong. It is the things a person says with his mouth that make him wrong."
— Matthew 15:10-11
Wouldn't it be nice if we could make ourselves pure simply by eating the right things? Granted, it is hard to eat the right things. But it's a lot harder for most of us to say and do the right things.
We have all sorts of problems with our speech: we say too much, we gossip, we lie, we take the Lord's name in vain, we exaggerate, we distort, we slander, we wound, we curse, we are crude .... The list could go on and on because the tongue can get away from us. Part of the problem is that our mouths often let fly what is unredeemed in our hearts. Another part of the problem is that we don't think about what we're going to say before we speak it. Still another part of the problem is that we do think what we would say to wound, hurt, or get back at someone; then, when we are given the opportunity, we say it.
Purity is an ongoing struggle. Jesus is saying don't make it so simple, so external, as just a matter of what you eat. Externals may be nice for traditions, but they're awfully empty at redemption.
Holy God, forgive me for wanting a cheap, quick fix to the problems of my heart's purity. I want you to redeem my heart. So I commit today to avoid what can pollute, putrefy, and poison my heart toward you and your children, and I ask for the power of the Spirit to help me with this commitment. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus. They came from Jerusalem and asked Jesus, "Why do your followers not obey the rules given to us by our great people that lived before us? Your followers don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus answered, "And why do you refuse to obey God's command so that you can follow those rules you have? God said, 'You must honor (respect) your father and mother.' And God also said, 'Any person that says bad things to his father or mother must be killed.' But you teach that a person can say to his father or mother, 'I have something I could use to help you. But I will not use it to help you. I will give it to God.' You teach that person to not honor his father. So you teach that it is not important to do what God said. You think that it is more important to follow those rules you have. You are hypocrites ! Isaiah was right when he spoke about you. Isaiah said: 'These people say they honor me, but they don't really make me an important part of their lives. Their worship of me is for nothing. The things they teach are only rules that people have made.'" Jesus called the people to him. Jesus said, "Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not the things a person puts in his mouth that make him wrong. It is the things a person says with his mouth that make him wrong." Then the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees are angry because of what you said?" Jesus answered, "Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from the Pharisees. They lead the people, but they are like blind men leading other blind men. And if a blind man leads another blind man, then both men will fall into a hole." Peter said, "Explain to us what you said earlier to the people." Jesus said, "You still have trouble understanding? Surely you know that all the food that enters a person's mouth goes into the stomach. Then that food goes out of the body. But thebad things a person says with his mouth come from the way a person thinks. And these are the things that make a person wrong. All these bad things begin in a person's mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, saying bad things against other people. These things make a person wrong. But not washing his hands before he eats does not make a person wrong."
Related Scripture Readings
God, create a pure heart in me! Make my spirit strong again! The sacrifice that God wants is an humble spirit. God, you will not turn away a person who comes with an humble, submissive heart.
Psalm 51:10, 17
You are young, but don't let any person treat you like you are not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them with the things you say, with the way you live, with your love, with your faith, and with your pure life.
1 Timothy 4:12
It is the same with our tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it boasts about doing great things. A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. How? The tongue spreads its evil through our whole body. It starts a fire that influences all of life. The tongue gets this fire from hell. People can tame every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish. People have already tamed all these things. But no person can tame (control) the tongue. It is wild and evil. It is full of poison that can kill. We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father (God), but then we curse (say bad things to) people. And God made those people like himself. Those praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. Do good water and bad water flow from the same spring? No! My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree make olives? No! Can a grapevine make figs? No! And a well full of salty water cannot give good water.