Jesus’ Parables: What Defiles A Person

When we think of the parables of Jesus, there is one we may not always think of. We may overlook it if we’re not careful. It’s found in Matthew 15. Let’s first look at the context leading up to this parable.

In Matthew 15:1-2 the Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus and started to give Him a hard time about how His disciples were breaking the traditions of the elders by not ceremonially washing their hands before they ate to cleanse themselves of some spiritual defilement. Jesus then puts the Pharisees and scribes in their place by rebuking them for their disobedience of God by their corrupting His laws (15:3-9).

Jesus then gives a parable to the people in vv 10-11, “And He called the people to Him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.'”

The disciples then came and told Jesus that He had offended the Pharisees by what He had said (15:12). Jesus’ answer is to leave them alone; they are blind guides (15:13-14).

But in Matthew 15:15 Peter comes to Jesus and asks Him to explain the parable that He had given to the people. So Jesus answered him and said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Jesus explained to them that the physical things we eat and drink do not defile a person but instead it is any evil from our hearts that defiles a person. Anything ungodly that we say, do, or think.

So what is coming out of your heart? What is my life showing about my heart? Is your heart defiled? If you sin then you show that your heart is not pure and holy. Jesus said that all sin comes from our hearts. By our good works we show our hearts to be good. By our evil works we show our hearts to be bad. What comes out of our mouths says a lot about who we are. Our thoughts and intentions show the condition of our hearts. Our actions reveal our character. What does God see in me? What am I showing those around me about who I am? We will either produce righteousness in our lives or unrighteousness. Good or evil. Pure or defiled.

Let’s make sure we are not defiled by sin. Repent of sin. Put away sin. God cleanses us through the blood of Jesus Christ. Live in God’s righteousness and holiness. Keep your heart pure and clean. Be holy in all your conduct. Examine your heart. If you need to clean house then clean house. Make your heart right in the eyes of God. Give your heart fully to Jesus Christ our Lord. By God’s grace He will make us pure and holy until the coming of Jesus.

If you’ve not obeyed the Gospel by repenting and being baptized into Christ by faith through water to wash your sins away (Acts 2:38, 22:16) then seek to do so believing that Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead. If you are already a Christian but you’ve allowed your heart to become defiled then go to God in prayer and repent of your sins. He is faithful and just to forgive.


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