Is it what goes into the mouth or what comes out, and what does that mean?

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Matthew 15:10-11 NIV
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. [11] What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
clean hands

   To give these verses some context we might look at what Jesus said further on down the passage.

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.”
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What do you think? Are there still traditions that we hang on to? How can we keep these traditions from taking first place in our hearts, over the love and instructions of Jesus? How can we keep our traditions from taking root in our hearts?

 

2 comments

  1. Matthew 15:10-11,17-20 NIV
    Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. [11] What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” [17] “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? [18] But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. [20] These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

    1. Certainly from the Mosaic dietary laws until today there are taboos about what to eat, how to eat it etc. The Old Testament rules, I’ve always guessed ( because I believe God always has a reason for everything He does) were good, common sense food safety for a nomadic people in the desert, with no means of food preservation. A Jewish friend once told me that the reason they eat Kosher today has to do with obedience. A sacrifice and tradition to honor God.
    We, who are under a New Covenant aren’t bound by those traditions. I think Jesus, in His above teaching, made several points to shift the view on several things as Jews in his time were being invited into the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in…Christianity.
    But in Jesus’ time ceremonial washing and clean and unclean foods were a big concern to an observant Jew. His telling them not to worry so much about what they put in their mouth as what comes out reminds me of the inside and outside of the cup we just studied.
    It seems that it is our intentions that are important, whether we love God and neighbor that matter, not clean hands of specific foods. I think He was tired of people following the letter of the law and thinking that was enough. They observed the law but we’re filled with evil intentions, greed, pride and the like.

    We sin in this way today. Although we may go to church, read the Bible, pray, and avoid various things that may be considered vices…how do we treat our neighbor?.The poor? Those in prison? ….and as for what comes from the evil in our hearts and out of our mouths : Gossip, criticism, angry words said in frustration that once uttered are out forever. I know I have regrets in this area. I try, but I fail to get it right all the time.

    The Bible has so many references on the power of the tongue to do real damage that there are practically too many to list. Clearly, our Blessed Lord wants us to be less concerned with what and how we eat and more responsible about what we say, or maybe even think of saying. I think of how many times I’ve disappointed Him in this. With the help of His grace and mercy, I’ll do better.
    This will be my prayer going forward : Psalm 141:3 NIV
    Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
    Amen

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