Mk. 7:1-23; Jn. 7:1
Since the Jews had been so hostile to Jesus the last time He was in Jerusalem, He decided to avoid this Passover Feast and travel in the region of Galilee. It was still not the time for Him to be offered.
Sometime after the Passover, some of the Pharisees and scribes who had come from Jerusalem saw Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands. They were very critical of the disciples because they had transgressed “the tradition of the elders.”
Jesus called them hypocrites because they presented themselves, as keeping the commandments, yet did not honor their fathers and mothers. He stated that they were “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” This presented Him with an opportunity to teach a lesson on purity.
Eating with dirty hands may not be sanitary or healthy, but it will not defile the soul. Jesus said that it was not the food that goes into the mouth, but the words that come out of the mouth that defile a man.
The words that come from the mouth come from the heart. Some of the things that defile are evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, deceit, lewdness, evil eye, pride and foolishness.