I think a lot of times, when people look at the laws of Moses, they wonder about why the Jews had all these laws about what is clean and unclean. For the most part, from a practical standpoint, they seemed to be for health and sanitary reasons.
But I think there was something beyond that which God wanted to make clear to the people: There are things that make you unclean. And by fixing this idea of clean and unclean in their minds from the physical aspect, he was drawing a picture for them of what it meant to be clean and unclean from a spiritual aspect. He was impressing the idea to them that they needed to be a people that were completely pure. Not just in body, but in spirit.
Unfortunately, the Jews put so much focus on the physical aspect of the law, that they missed the true point God was trying to get across to them. And so when Jesus told the people that what goes into the mouth doesn’t make people unclean, it’s what comes out of the mouth that does, his disciples got confused. All their lives, they had been told, “Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. If you do, you’ll become unclean.”
And so basically they asked Jesus, “What do you mean? We always thought that certain foods would make us unclean.”
Are you so dull? Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body…What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ” (Mark 7:18-23)
I think this passage is fairly self-explanatory, and doesn’t need any further commentary as to what Jesus meant.
The question then becomes, how about you? What is in your heart? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control? Then these things will flow out of your mouth and out of your life. But if it’s evil thoughts, sexual immorality, and all the rest, those things too will flow out of your mouth and your life. These are the things that make your pure or impure.
As you examine your life today, what’s coming out of your mouth? What’s coming out of your life?