Matthew 15: 10-14: 10 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.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Why were the Pharisees offended by what Jesus said? It was because Jesus had called them “unclean.” If there was anything that a Pharisee did, he meticulously avoided touching and even being close to anything that was unclean, like lepers or dead bodies or unclean food. That’s why they washed their hands before they ate, just in case they had touched someone who touched someone who was unclean.
Jesus teaches us something very important in these words. It’s not what goes into our mouths that makes us unclean, but what comes out of them. In the book of James, we get a picture of how hard it is to control our tongues and what comes out of our mouths. Slander. Foul language. Critical remarks that are unnecessary. Juicy gossip. Proud words. And in the case of the Pharisees, false teaching as well. They were like the blind leading the blind.
Jesus will always offend our sinful natures. We don’t like to hear that we are unclean. But how else will we know that we cannot save ourselves? How else will we know that we desperately need a Savior?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, speak boldly to my sinful heart and crush the pride that is in me! But when you have broken my spirit, then lift me up with the precious message of the gospel that declares all my sins forgiven. Only when I have been washed in your blood will I be truly clean! Amen.