Thursday, June 27th, 2019
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? Mark 7:18-19
I know that we heard in grade school, “You are what you eat,” but that is not true at all. Physically speaking, true, if you put junk in, you will get junk out, or in other words, you will have poor health and die much earlier than you were supposed to. While health is an important topic, Jesus is talking about something way more important here than your physical health.
Have you noticed though, that people seem to be getting religious about what they eat these days? If you offer someone a choice steak, some will quickly tell you that they don’t eat red meat. And for some, they may even get offended if you dare offer them some bacon. I commend anyone, if for health reasons, they have been able to put aside meat, but one thing for sure, doing so won’t make them spiritually clean. I know this may ruffle some feathers, but to be clear, Jesus told his disciples that “whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him.” Now, if eating bacon “cannot defile” you, then not eating it certainly can’t make you spiritual. Now don’t get me wrong, all Christians should know that, as the Spirit of God directs, fasting from certain foods for a time can bring you closer to God, but food doesn’t defile you.
Then, what does defile a man? Jesus was talking to some scribes and Pharisees that must have thought they were really spiritual, because they found fault with Jesus’ disciples when they saw them not washing their hands before they ate. Mark’s account goes onto say that these religious people wouldn’t eat unless they washed their hands often (Mark 7:3). They asked Jesus, “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” Jesus said that Isaiah was talking about them when he said, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me (Mark 7:5-6).” In doing so, they had gone so far as to “reject the commandment of God” in order to keep their traditions and making the commandment of “none effect” (Mark 7:9, Matt. 15:6). In other words, while they may have been clean on the outside, they were really dirty on the inside, and God was not impressed by their religious activities.
This puzzled the disciples. Let me paraphrase a little here. They even came to Jesus and said, “Did you know that you offended the Pharisees (Matt. 15:12)?” Jesus didn’t budge one inch! He even said, “Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind” (Matt. 15:14). Then brave Peter asked Jesus for the meaning of the parable. Jesus said, “Man, don’t you get it? Whatever goes into a man’s mouth goes into his belly and eventually in the toilet. But the things which comes out of his mouth come from the heart; and that is what defiles a man (Matt. 15:16-18).”
He further explained concerning man’s defilement, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Jesus said, “These are the things which defile a man:” So again, Jesus here makes it very clear that eating with dirty hands does not defile a man. This teaching would also debunk the old saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” No doubt, this is why the Psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer (Ps. 19:14).”
It may seem that Jesus was only speaking about in taking things with dirty hands and cups and pots, but he did say that whatever goes into your mouth goes out the draught and cannot defile a man. Paul picks up the discussion in 1 Timothy and even foretells how this wrong thinking will lead many in the last days to forbid people to marry and command them to abstain from meats. Sound familiar? It as if some vehemently try and not intake anything that comes from an animal, even milk. Paul said here these meats are created by God and are “to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (1 Tim. 4:3)” This may really ruffle some more feathers, but he further says, “For every creature of God is good, and in nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”
Giving thanks is the key. We should be so grateful, for we know that is from our Heavenly Father that all these bountiful blessings flow. And we should never forget to say “thanks.” You may look at a believer and wonder why he or she bows their heads before every meal and prays. This is the other key. Not only should we always bow and say “thanks” before our meals, but we should pray over our food too because “it is sanctified by the word and prayer.” In other words, it is cleansed and purified when we receive it with thanks and pray over it. A good word that my pastor, Apostle Ron Thomas, always taught us to speak over our food was Exodus 23:25 which says, “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and shall bless thy bread and thy water; and he will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
We will talk more about what you say next time and this powerful teaching of the good or evil treasure of a man’s heart. For now, be grateful and speak the word over your food!