“And he called the people to him again and said to them, ‘Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.’ And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, ‘Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'” – Mark 7:14-23
Jesus never shied away from speaking the truth, even when that truth went wholly against the mores of the culture. Jesus here calls out the traditions of the elders, which were contrary to the word of God (vv. 1-13). They believed that they could be defiled by unclean or unwashed hands. A little water would remedy that problem. Jesus, however, brings to the surface the real trajedy of man — unclean, defiled hearts (Eph. 2:1-3). The very core of man’s being is corrupt and desperately wicked. Mere reform won’t remedy this disease. What man needs is a new heart (Ezek. 36:25-27; Jn. 3:3-8).
Much has not changed in our day. The world continues to believe that corruption comes from outside us. Man wants to believe that he is basically good, and if the surrounding conditions are good enough, then he can get along in life just fine. The reality of the matter is, you can’t escape your heart, which, according to Jesus, is the storehouse of wickedness. This passage should cause us to look to the One who states it — Jesus Christ. This is a remedy that man cannot fix, but must wholly rely on the grace and mercy of God in the gospel (Eph. 2:4-10). This is a truth that we as Christians must continue to proclaim, otherwise man will not understand the depravity of their soul and will not see the gospel as precious. The more man comes to grips with the reality of their sinful nature, the more the light and beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ shines.