Jesus gets to the Heart of the Matter: Mark 7:14-19
“14) After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15) there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16) [If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”] 17) When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18) And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19) because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)” Mark‬ ‭7‬:‭14‬-‭19‬ ‭
Jesus was making the strong statement that righteousness and godliness are not determined by external things like hand washing or diet, but rather by inward things like moral character. The scribes and Pharisees were outwardly keeping the ceremonial traditions and dietary regulations, but inwardly they were filled with anger and jealousy and were actively plotting murder. There was something tragically wrong with this picture.
The digestive tract can eliminate bad food, but a change of heart is needed to clean up bad character. Jesus was explaining a profound principle. Religious legalism has no relationship to godliness. Guard your inner self and the condition of your heart with great diligence. This is where the Holy Spirit starts His work of sanctification immediately after salvation. (See Titus 3:4-7)
Verse 19 says; (Thus He declared all foods clean.) This phrase has been terribly misused. Jesus was in no way declaring all foods equal in terms of health benefits or nutritional value. Old Testament principles provide amazing nutritional insights, especially in these days when our food source is so compromised.
Due diligence when studying good diet and nutrition. Not all foods are produced or created equally. Your diet will not keep you out of heaven. In fact, a bad diet and poor nutrition will get you there much faster. Most chronic diseases come down to lifestyle issues related to poor choices of food, nutrition, diet and exercise. The Old Testament provides great wisdom on healthy living.
Jesus was simply saying the greatest problem with mankind is connected to the moral condition of the heart and not the foods that enter the stomach and digestive track. He was exposing the vile inner condition of the scribes and Pharisees. They were suffering from a problem that went much deeper than unclean hands or foods. They had evil hearts.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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