Mark 7:14-23 - And He (Jesus) 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."
I think most of us understand what it means to feel dirty—to feel contaminated, unclean, like you need a long, hot shower. For the people Jesus was talking to in this story, eating forbidden foods made them feel that way. There were other religious traditions too that troubled them. If they didn't keep them, they felt dirty—even sinful, worthless.
Most of us don't have that trouble with food. But we may feel that way about other things that come to us from outside. Abuse can make its victims feel unclean—dirty, unwanted, as if they somehow deserved the mistreatment other people gave them. So can violence—especially sexual violence. It is easy to feel dirty after something horrible happens to you—unclean, contaminated, valueless.
But to us Jesus says the same thing He said in this story: "Whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart ... What comes out of a person is what defiles him." The actions of other people cannot make us dirty or unclean in God's eyes, no matter how horrible they are. Only our own sin can do that. And Jesus has given Himself to make us clean from sin forever, everyone who trusts in Him.
You are not worthless. You are not contaminated. You belong to Jesus, and He makes you clean. He values you more than His own life—that's what the cross was about. He shares His own pure, clean, joyful, everlasting life with you, because you trust in Him. You are His and He is yours. Nothing can take you away from Him (see John 10:28).
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I feel worthless and contaminated, please help me to see and believe that You live in me and have made me new and clean. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What do you like least about being physically dirty? Why?
2. What do you do when you feel emotionally or spiritually dirty?
3. How does Jesus' blood, shed to make you new and clean, comfort you?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"