What Does Matthew 15:11 Mean?

"It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."

Matthew 15:11(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As the end of Christ's earthly ministry drew ever closer, the conflict with Israel's hypocritical leaders continued to escalate. Christ's great concern was truth and love, but His truth exposed their hypocrisy and His compassion unmasked a cold indifference to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and a disdain for the Gentiles who were dead in their sins and without God in the world.

The fanatical condemnation by the scribes and Pharisees of Christ and His followers, was rooted in a rigid, unbiblical legalism that stood in stark contrast with the gracious words that fell from the lips of our Lord and the deep compassion He had for all who were drowning in their sin.

The religious leaders were more concerned with ceremonial washing of hands than the inner cleansing of their heart from sin. The scribes and Pharisees put far greater emphasis on rules and regulations such as what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat, rather than what they spoke, what they thought, and the motives behinds their thoughts. These critical hypocritical leaders paid great attention to exterior devilment whilst ignoring the all-important need for inner cleanliness and a heart that has been washed white and clean by the blood of the Lamb.

Jesus knew this when He spoke these words: "For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart. The good person brings out of his good treasure good things; and the evil person brings out of his evil treasure evil things." He went on to explain that we will all give an account of every careless word we say.

As we meditate on the words of Jesus, let us seek to live as unto the Lord, never forgetting that it is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man or woman, but what proceeds out of the mouth that defiles them. The words that stream forth from our lips are a stunningly accurate gauge of a person’s heart and life.

May our love for the Lord be shown in the words that we say, and let us never forget that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, search my heart, I pray, and root out any hypocrisy and legalism You find there. May the words of my mouth reflect a heart that honours you in thought, word, and motive. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN. 

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