Mark 7:14-23 Jesus explains true defilement to the people
This is really a continuation from the previous section on the question (from the Pharisees) of eating with defiled hands (Mk. 7:1-13). Now Jesus turns to the people and teaches them on the true meaning of defilement (v. 14-15) – yes, its the same root greek word (koinos, koinoo).
“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” – Jesus of Nazareth
Well, no need for me to explain this to you. Later, the disciples ask Jesus to explain the parable and Mark lets us in on the conversation: what goes into the stomach comes out the other end (it doesn’t enter into the heart). The disciples later understand this to mean the end of the dietary laws (v. 19). But what follows is pretty biting: a list of things which “from within, out of the heart of man come” (v. 21) – evil thoughts, sexual immorality, murder, adultery, coveting, deceit, envy, pride (and that’s just some highlights, v. 21-22).
“All these evil things things comes from within, and they defile a person!” (v. 23, emphasis! mine)
Defilement is an issue of the heart! Jesus puts aside the externals of the ceremonial Levitical Laws, and focuses on the condition of the human heart. Adultery begins in the heart. Murder begins with hatred in our heart toward our brother or sister when we say “raca” (Mt. 5:22) to a fellow human being created with the imago dei indelibly stamped on their being/person. Pride happens in the heart when I know that I am inherently better than someone else – hardly the attitude of a fellow sinner saved by grace. Jesus minces no words calling all of these things evil.
As followers of Jesus we’ve got to get our hearts right. We’ve got to focus on these heart issues and take the time, effort, and yes go through the pain, to look at our true self as we really are, and deal with it, in light of the great love and grace God that has extended to us in Christ Jesus. Holding onto bitterness is like declaring our souls a playground for the devil and his minions – “come on in, the waters fine!” (Eph. 4:25-27). Whether its a porn addiction, a relationship issue, deeply rooted hurts from our childhood, resentment toward a co-worker or fellow parishioner, lust… these things will ultimately destroy us if not dealt with. Receiving healing from Jesus includes learning healthy ways of coping so that we don’t return to our old self-destructive tendencies that we so easily, naturally fall into. Following Jesus, the Prince of Peace, means His Shalom ruling in every area of our lives: physical, spiritual, emotional, relationships, family…
“Come, follow Me!”