Jewish culture emphasized ceremonial cleanliness. The religious leaders took what God had given in the law and expanded it to the Nth degree. They thought ritual would help them spiritually. Jesus’ miracle in John 2.1-11 alludes to this desire for spiritual cleanliness. Jesus has them fill the jars used to hold the water for the ceremonial washing. The ceremonial water signifies the people’s desire to get right with God on their terms. They knew something was wrong and wanted to get clean. John presents Jesus as the only way to get right with God.
In Mark 7.1-15, Jesus addresses a group of religious teachers, telling them it isn’t about the outside, but the inside. They thought they were fine because they looked religious and followed their rules. Jesus says their traditions aren’t helping them spiritually.
We all want to be spiritually clean, but sometimes we care more about the outside than the inside. We may think if we follow certain rules and do the right things, we will be fine. The only true way to be clean is through Jesus.
Today, mull over the state of your heart. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you and clean your heart? If you have, is your life being shaped in the character of Jesus as he transforms you from the inside out? If you find yourself more concerned about what people think of you than the state of your heart, offer a prayer of confession to God. Ask him to shape you into who he wants you to be.