What Jesus Did! 'What's Inside!' — Matthew 15:15-20

Friday, July 23, 2021

Then Peter said to Jesus, "Explain to us the parable that says people aren't defiled by what they eat."

"Don't you understand yet?" Jesus asked. "Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart — that's what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you."

— Matthew 15:15-20 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus had to remind his disciples of this truth repeatedly: It's what's inside our hearts that leads to what we say and do. Of course, it's possible that we can think something nice, feel something nice, but then let those feelings and thoughts take the place of actions. Fortunately, it's also possible not to act on bad feelings and thoughts. On the other hand, when we do something, it's the interior world of the heart that leads to those actions. It's precisely because this interior world reveals itself in our behavior that we must keep our hearts pure.

Jesus is after right actions, good deeds, decent behavior, and honorable character. But these things are ultimately and consistently producible only if we keep our hearts pure and are committed to honor God in the way we live.

Today's Prayer

O Lord God, Almighty Creator and Sustainer, why you choose to love me and bless me with your grace is a great mystery to me. You know my thoughts. You know my motives. While I am working on making those areas of my life more holy, I recognize that I need the cleansing and power of your Holy Spirit in the inner most places of my existence. Cleanse my heart and conform my thoughts to your will. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 12:35-37
  • Romans 1:28-32
  • Psalm 19:14


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Illustration of Matthew 15:15-20 NLT — "Explain to us the parable that says people aren't defiled by what they eat."

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.