Mark 7 is a powerful reality check for us all. In this chapter, Jesus exposes what is lingering in our hearts under the surface.

When the religious leaders confronted Jesus about His disciples not ritually washing before meals, Jesus flipped the issue around. He said to them in Mark 7:14-15, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

What is Jesus getting at here? Where is the application for us today? Simply creating “good Christian” habits and keeping up religious appearances does not cut it if our hearts remain unchanged. Going through motions of our faith like saying the “right prayers” or quoting the “right Bible verse” does not magically transform our inner being and heart. It’s very possible to look like a “good Christian” on the outside but remain infected with pride, judgment, hatred, selfishness and greed deep down inside.

The heart issue is what Jesus is most concerned with – “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come…arrogance…envy, slander…” (Mark 7:21-22). These flow automatically from the diseased sin nature still dwelling in all of us. Religious rituals can cover them up for a while but true cleansing is needed inside out.


Mark 7 challenges us to allow Christ to make a true difference in our hearts. Let his love, care and generosity guide us so that we can help people see the light and hope of Him.

This is from one of the passages in the Bible in a Year plans. If you would like to start reading the Bible daily this year, click here for 5 different reading plans.