Saturday 13 November 2021

Bible Book:

'There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.' (v. 15)

Mark 7:14-23 Saturday 13 November 2021

 Psalm 39


Yesterday we saw Jesus taking the Pharisees to task over their handling of the oral and written law. Jesus now speaks to a wider group of people. He picks up yesterday's issue of what makes someone 'unclean' and presents a revolutionary idea.

For the Jewish people, different kinds of food were classed as either clean or unclean. Some foods were acceptable to eat and others were not. As he addresses the crowd, Jesus declares that nothing can defile a person by being brought into their body. It may not sound groundbreaking to us but it challenged the Jews' understanding and would have caused quite a stir among those listening.

Having shocked the crowd with his words, Jesus withdraws to a house where his disciples ask him what he meant. Jesus is shocked they have not understood and so spells it out to them – it is not the food we eat that makes us unclean, but rather it is what comes out of our hearts. It is in our hearts that our passions lie and it is here that our ability to do evil and good resides.

“That which defiles” has been an important message in yesterday’s passage and the reading today. Jesus has shown the leaders that first it is the word of God over the words of the elders that are more important. Here he shows it is the state of someone’s heart that is much more important than the food they eat.


To Ponder:

  •  How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus’ words if you had been part of the crowd at the time?
  • What can we do to keep our hearts clean?

First published in 2018.

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