Jesus Addresses “You Are What You Eat”
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.)
Mark 7:14–15,17–19 Read More
The Scribes and Pharisees had a huge list of the foods that you couldn’t eat. It was mostly from Leviticus and were rules given from Moses to the people as they wandered in the desert and established their new kingdom in the promised land. Plenty of other people have written about that diet, the food laws, etc. The point that Jesus is addressing here is Righteousness by Consumption.
Righteousness by Consumption is the idea that by eating something or by abstaining, I become more or less righteous. You may have heard of the Temperance Movement in the United States that mainly rallied against alcohol, but out of which also came oatmeal and graham crackers. Again, people thought that by eating bland foods, they would become more moral and ethical. (Thanks for the graham crackers though!)
Legalism is always self-serving. As soon as we put a spiritual weight on the food we eat, we’d better check and make sure we aren’t justifying ourselves and making some new food laws. That is what Jesus was addressing here. Without paying attention to the wickedness and evil that were coming out of their lives, people were taking pride in their righteousness by not eating without washing their hands. The holiness they gained from clean hands was lost in judging and condemning others. There were extreme water filtering methods to avoid eating a gnat that Pharisees would use while boasting about fasting with trumpets and cymbals.
As we worry about our glutens and our fats, health is one thing, and righteousness is another. Blessed is the man that has the double cheeseburger out of freedom, and blessed is the man that has the tuna salad sandwich because he’s trying to lose weight. We should not be judging others by what they eat and I should not be exalting myself over abstaining from beer. Freedom and grace blow away the menace of Righteousness by Consumption.
Jesus says, if you are going to worry about what is going in or out of your mouth, worry about what is coming out. That’s where the sin comes from. That’s what He is going to pay for on the cross. Not sugar or gluten or bacon. Bacon is free.
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