Matthew 15:10-20

10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:

11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?

17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

defiles (v.11) = makes profane

let them alone (v.14) = take no notice

is eliminated (v.17) = lit. “into the latrine”

blasphemies (v.19) = injurious speech — criticism, libel, etc.

Christ used this confrontation as an opportunity to teach them what constituted uncleanness in the sight of God. The Pharisees considered themselves to be clean within and therefore wholly acceptable to God. According to their thinking, only that which touched them from outside could render them unclean and defiled in the sight of God. Christ repudiated this erroneous doctrine and taught that the seat of uncleanness and defilement is not external but internal (Mark 7:15). This concept was so strange to even the Twelve that when they were alone with Christ, they asked him to interpret this saying. Christ explained very clearly that it is not that which touches a man from without that defiles what was clean, but rather the uncleanness comes from within. — Pentecost, page 243.

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