Now when the Pharisees gathered to [Jesus], with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed...And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”
Mark 7:1, 2, and 5
Knowing what we know now about germs, I would definitely be giving some side-eye to Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands, especially today! I mean it is a major part of killing the germs and viruses we can’t see. But there is another place full of things we can’t see, and it won’t matter how many times we wash our hands, we can still be unclean. The rest of this passage goes on to Jesus quoting Isaiah: “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (verse 6) We need to be just as concerned about the cleanliness for our hearts as our hands. One of my personal prayer verses is Psalm 24:3-4, I often sing it, because it reminds me not only to have clean hands but a pure heart, so I can be close to God. The outside washing is important, but it will all be in vain if we are not keeping the inside clean. Jesus explained further on in Mark chapter 7, that it’s what comes out of us that defiles us. So how do we keep from having sin and wickedness come out of us? One way is washing with the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26), by having the Word of God in our minds we keep the things that would be unpleasing from ever having any room inside our hearts.
It’s so abstract sometimes, we can’t see the spiritual heart, that is beyond our human ability. But we know God can, and so spend some time asking Him how you can be clean. So you can be washed; not just your hands, but also your heart.
TVC Prayer Coordinator