And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Comment: Jesus first statement here sounds like a comment on the disciples not washing their hands. A matter discussed a couple of days ago. But the disciples understand it as a parable, which they they can’t interpret. Obviously Jesus isn’t talking about or excusing dirtiness, nor is he denying issues like food poisoning. He’s making a comment on what is normal – food goes in one end and what is left over comes out the other end! This is not a discussion about bowel actions, but about heart and mind realities and resulting actions. How true it is that the defilement of our own person, our relationships, our society begins in the ‘inner man’ of each of us. The list which Jesus gives of things is horrifying. How true it is that we see them easily in others – but about in ourselves?
Prayer: Help me to be honest with You, O God.