When you read the word “defilement” what images come to mind? Is it some picture of a far off land and people searching through the dump looking for food? OR Is it some picture of a church with people dressed in their finest taking communion who have yet to take this step: Psa 51:2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! Or this one: 1Co 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. No matter which picture comes to mind, Jesus has a word for all of us: it is not the outward life but the inward life. If ever there were a picture of outward purity but inward defilement it is the hypocritical Pharisee…note it is not the Pharisees of the time of Jesus but it is the Pharisee within all of us. It is then that the words of Jesus should pierce our hearts and that we begin to look and see what He sees. He sees we have escalated traditions to the above inspired scripture. That was the problem of the first century Pharisees and why Jesus took such offense at them.
Wisely the Pharisees sought to protect Israel from the false prophets and teachers that they may never have to do another “lap around the wilderness” or Babylonian captivity again, but in their quest they had closed eyes to see and closed hearts to hear. Thus Jesus points them to their practices of washing and Corban (which is to set aside a gift to the temple which cannot be touched until an appointed time even if a need arises to care for one’s parents) to show them the true defilement is as Isaiah said: this people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Their outward practices had become so ingrained that the washing of hands superseded the washing of the heart. Both Moses and Jeremiah pleaded with the people to do that step before they began to worship. Deu 10:16 Therefore, cleanse your heart and Jer 4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts .”
Today as we continue our journey to the cross let’s take time to do a spiritual heart check. Will you examine your hypocrisy as I also have to do? Where have I or you set aside what is good as Corban but have yet to set aside our sin?