What makes a person ‘unclean?’ Jesus declares it is not what enters a person that makes him ‘unclean.’ Rather, says Jesus,
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ” (Mark 7:20-23)
“Nothing,” declares Jesus, “outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him.” (Mark 7:15)
Nothing? Does Jesus really mean this?
His original objection is directed at the Pharisees who scold Him and His disciples for eating with unwashed hands, but later He speaks to the crowd, telling them to listen to Him and understand that “nothing outside” of them can make them evil. Evil doesn’t come from outside of you, says Jesus. Evil comes from within, from what is in your heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:10)
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one! Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
“Every mouth is silenced and the whole world is held accountable to God.” (Romans 3:19)
Evil comes from within. Nothing outside a person makes him unclean.