John Koedyker

Read: Mark 7:14-23

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. (v. 15)

To the Jew, it was a serious thing to be “unclean.” A person who was considered “unclean” was “defiled” and therefore in a dangerous predicament. You did not want to be “unclean.” It could lead to retribution or death. So under the Old Testament system, people avoided lepers or touching the body of a dead person. They also avoided certain “unclean foods” such as pork.

When Jesus came, he ushered in a whole new perspective on what it means to be clean, or righteous, in God’s sight. For him, “unclean” is a thing of the heart. That teaching is certainly in the Old Testament. Passages like Proverbs 4:23 and Psalm 51:10 speak about the importance of guarding our hearts (the wellspring of life) and asking God to create a clean heart within us. Unfortunately, these deep spiritual truths relating to the heart were overwhelmed by an outward legalistic system.

What Jesus says in today’s Scripture lesson should ring true to us. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah even said so: “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (17:9). That is the root problem that we all have. But God has a solution: “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

—John Koedyker

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that when we confess our sins, you are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteous. Amen.