Thursday 26 March
[Jesus] went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’
I remember a conversation I had with a Muslim friend of mine. She shared she’d perform Wudu, a purification practice of washing herself in readiness before praying. We see in Mark 7 where the Jews and in particular the religious leaders had a similar practice of washing themselves before eating.
I remember another conversation with my friend. I came to her house and she was in tears. Her husband had come home drunk. This had been her normal and she had been too embarrassed to tell me. She was so confused at how her ceremonial traditions had failed her and her family. She felt cursed by God. As I prayed for the peace and truth of Jesus to speak to her, I was reminded of these words in Mark 7.
My friend was surprised that Jesus was so different to the religious leaders and didn’t support their practices. He even condemned them and told them they were hypocrites. His way of purification is unique. He looks inside at the human heart and starts there. He says that each of our hearts need a purification that only he has the power to perform.
As I shared this with my friend, she was in tears. But this time the tears were an awareness that her heart was exposed and she couldn’t hide from God. Even her ceremonial traditions couldn’t cover what God could see. But even in this unsettling awareness, the beauty and uniqueness of Jesus also was shown to her. I love what Michael Horton says - “The gospel is not wishful thinking. It’s not just an optimistic or sentimental uplift. It’s the announcement of a fact."
Written by a member of the CEM Team
Heavenly Father, help us to see the reality of our own hearts. Thank you for Jesus, that he is the way to purify our hearts. May we have the courage and humility to call on you. Amen.