By Jack Glover
Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matt. 15:16-20).
Several times in his ministry, Jesus had a problem with getting his point across. Too often the people would make application to physical events or actions and completely miss the lesson taught. Such was the case in this teaching about eating with unwashed hands.
Although cleanliness is important, changing what is in the heart (mind) of man really cleanses. Proof positive of this is our very own nation. Many Americans have a desire to remove God and His teaching from their hearts, and the results are as evident, or more so, than they were in Israel of old.
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” (John 8:39-41)
Jesus had told those questioning Him that He would make them free, meaning free from the Law and sin. They said they already were free because of heritage, being Abraham’s children. Basing freedom on being children of Abraham was not good reasoning because Abraham’s offspring had been in captivity several times by then, although those speaking said they had never been in bondage.
Many today sound like those speaking to Jesus back then, although for different reasons. Jesus said freedom is based on truth: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31)
Freedom based on feelings, heritage, doctrines of men, etc., is no freedom at all but is slavery to the wrong father. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matt. 13:57)
Sometimes the return home doesn’t go as expected. Unfortunately that is often true when the hometown boy comes to preach. Although they were astonished at Jesus’ ability and knowledge, it seemed to stir their jealousy more than acceptance. The people could not accept His teaching because they knew His family as well as Him. We might say, “Who does he think he is?”
Their question was, “Is this not the carpenters son?” What Jesus taught should not have been accepted or rejected based on who he was but on truth. Far too often today, we are influenced by who the speaker is rather than what is said. We must not allow preconceived ideas or personal relationships to determine truth.
Remember, Jesus said:
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 15:25-26)