Several years ago, my friend called with a frantic voice. Muddy water was coming out of his faucets. Upon further inspection from professionals, he discovered that an underground pipe had cracked and dirt was seeping its way into his house. Workers needed to dig up large sections of his yard to fix the problem. As believers, we can be guilty of allowing filth to come out of our mouths because it has unconsciously seeped into our hearts. Thankfully, God is in the business of digging into our lives to fix our damaged hearts.
In our text, the Pharisees were reaching a boiling point. The masses were beginning to follow Jesus, listen to His teachings, and experience healing by His power. In an attempt to undermine this rapidly growing movement, they sent a delegation from Jerusalem to expose Jesus as a heretic (vv. 1–2). For the Pharisees and teachers of the law, tradition was their mission. So when they tried to call out Jesus’ disciples on a technicality of living defiled lives because they were not washing their hands before meals, Jesus responded in brilliant fashion. He argued that they were honoring God only by their mouths and not by their lives (vv. 3–9).
The Pharisees were obsessed with keeping rituals. However, when Jesus stepped onto the scene, He began teaching something altogether different. He said that what makes you unclean comes from within. For Him, it was not a mouth issue as much as it was a heart issue. What comes out of the mouth is actually coming from the heart (v. 19). Jesus’ new message required them, and us, to check not only their mouths but also their hearts.
>> Do you ever find yourself saying something that later you are ashamed of? Perhaps a comment to a friend or even a subtle remark under your breath? Allow the Lord to work on your heart so that you can honor Him with both your mouth and your life.
Father, we often undermine the importance of our words, excusing vulgarity as humor and irreverence as authenticity. Today, make us aware of our words and what they say about our hearts.