Mark 7: Food is Not the Problem

“Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him “unclean” by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him “unclean.” ‘ ” (Mark 7:14-15)

If you’re the kind of person who is careful about what you eat, you might wince at Jesus’ words here. Some of us are so concerned with healthy and unhealthy food that we might really feel “unclean” after eating a drive-thru burger or an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting.

prickly_350But to those who heard this in person, Jesus’ words were revolutionary. For them, it wasn’t about being fat or feeling gross, it was about being acceptable to God, about becoming spiritually unclean in their community. They had grown up with the idea that eating the wrong foods could change your spiritual status as a person.

Jesus demanded a radical shift in his followers’ thinking: God cares more about what lives in your heart than what passes through your digestive track. And what lives in our hearts is revealed by our sinful words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes. Sin comes from in there, not from the outside when we forget to wash our hands before having lunch.

Think: Our culture puts a huge emphasis on what we eat and don’t eat. Do you ever feel guilty about your food choices? Do you think you sometimes care more about healthy eating than whether your heart and mind is right with God?

Pray: Thank God that you will not be declared unclean for eating certain foods. Ask him to help you care more about honoring him with your heart, mind, and actions than you do about what you eat.

Do: Read Colossians 2:20-22.