What Jesus Did! 'Food Won't Defile' — Mark 7:17-19

Monday, April 29, 2024

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Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. "Don't you understand either?" he asked. "Can't you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn't go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer." (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God's eyes.)
— Mark 7:17-19 NLT

Key Thought

Once again, Jesus wanted his closest followers to know that the issues of genuine faith focus on our heart-driven actions and not on the cosmetic ones. Luke and Mark included the powerful commentary about making all food clean — a truth that took some time to sink in among Jesus' early followers. Paul still had to deal with this issue decades later, and apparently referred to Jesus' statement at the end of today's verses. [1] Jesus' declaration is radical, not just because he declared all food clean, but because he wants us to look at our hearts instead of having a perfunctory religious check list of good deeds that never demand anything of our hearts.

[1] Romans 14:14, 17.

Today's Prayer

O God, please make my deeds helpful and genuine and my heart pure. I want to love you, and I want to love others, in deeds and truth as well as in words and speech. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 John 3:16-18
  • 1 Samuel 21:1-6
  • Matthew 15:15-20


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Illustration of Mark 7:17-19 NLT — "Don't you understand either?"   ——   "Can't you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn't go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.