[Please note that this post is a continuation of the previous post titled “The Real Enemy“]
The Pharisees had just been offended by the words of Jesus. Jesus had answered their question on table manners and they could not believe how He could take their precious traditions and make them so cheap.
Jesus knew the sanitary practices in Israel just like every other Jew. But He knew more than just getting hands and utensils clean before a meal. He saw how people treated others, with lots of grudges, backbiting and hatred, not to mention the religious deceit too.
People ate nice meals from clean dishes with clean hands, however participants in the meal held offenses in their hearts against one or more persons. Such could not even enjoy the meal. The darkness in the heart made a mess of the outward washing. A dirty heart could defile every other thing it contacted. This was the point that Jesus made.
The traditions these Pharisees held to majored on minor things: physical cleanliness, but neglected the major things: love, justice, forgiveness, compassion, peace making, etc. This left a vacuum to be filled by war breeding thoughts and destructive cravings.
Jesus was exposing the real enemy. As we take measures to avoid contaminated dishes because of the bodily harm they could cause, Jesus says watch your heart. The real danger is within. Your food can affect only your body but the content of your heart affects everything and even others too.
A defiled heart flows with wickedness: murders (physical and character assassination), sexual immoralities (every type and form is conceived in the heart), thefts, false testimonies, profane speaking, and many more. Jesus knew this well. The real enemy was within, not the bugs on the outside (Matthew 15:18-20).
Lord Jesus said that anyone who is pure in heart is blessed because he would see God. This is a call to becoming more like Jesus. We remember that the Church Lord Jesus is preparing is going to be presented without any defect or defilement. That means a perfect Church to which we have been called.
The prophet Samuel learnt that “while men look at the outward, God looks within, He looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).