Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy!
Sometime later we were preparing to eat, and some of us already were. Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus noticing some of us eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.
The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles. They’re very strict in trying to maintain ritual purity and following the oral traditions.
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
I started to feel a bit embarrassed. What we do reflects on Jesus.
Jesus met their eyes, replying, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
He wasn’t done yet, continuing, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban…”
That is, ‘devoted to God’, I thought.
“…then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Jesus just called them all hypocrites.
He looked around, calling the crowd over. He looked at them and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
What did he mean by that?
Later after he had left the crowd and entered the house, we asked him about this parable.
“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.”
Are all foods clean now, no kosher laws?
He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
We should be more concerned with what’s inside us rather than what we eat. To a point, I would think. Interesting…who would want to eat a nasty pig though?
Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23