Exodus 7-8 Matthew 15:1-20
“But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean. Out of the mind come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and speaking evil of others. These things make people unclean; eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean.” (Matthew 15:18-20 NCV)
This story is a bit strange to our modern hygienic times. Jesus seems to be castigating the Pharisees for washing their hands before they ate. It’s important to realize that the Pharisees hand washing was more for ritualistic purity than hygienic purposes. They cleansed their hands to be free from the dirt of the world before they ate, and yet, it was the dirt of the world that came out of them. Jesus didn’t castigate them for washing their hands, He castigated them for thinking that pouring water over their hands made them clean from the sins of the world. His concern wasn’t whether or not their hands were clean, He wondered why they didn’t focus on the need to live a clean life.
We have many who claim to be Christians today who have the same attitude towards a clean life. They seem to be of the opinion that saying the right words to accept Christ means that they’re OK, no matter what happens and no matter what they do. They’ve trusted the idea to cleaning up their lives to saying the “right words” in prayer. Once that’s done, they can live how they want. If we’re truly in a relationship with Jesus, though, our lives will change. We will be conformed to the image of Christ. If the evil thoughts, and all those other things Jesus mentioned, keep coming out of your head, and your mouth, maybe your relationship with God isn’t as strong as it should be. Of course, I’m still gonna be washing my hands.
Lord, remind me that You make me clean. Keep cleaning me up and making me the person You want me to be.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.