In today’s Bible reading, the religious leaders confront Jesus about His Disciples’ lack of cleanliness. They observed Jesus’ Disciples eating without washing their hands.
Jesus quickly rebukes them by pointing out that they had turned tradition on its head. Instead of the tradition helping to draw people to God, they had actually replaced God with their religious traditions. (Mark 7:6-13)
Doctors will tell you it’s important to cover your cough and frequently wash your hands with soap, especially to avoid colds and flu. Restaurant restrooms remind employees to wash their hands before returning to work.
While personal hygiene is important, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day had made a religion out of it. Rather than letting the tradition of washing remind them of their need for personal holiness, the religious leaders thought it was all about the physical act of washing.
How clean are you? Do you focus on keeping your life clean by obsessing on what you do and don’t do so people can see how clean, how holy you are? Or do you focus on cleaning up your insides, keeping short accounts with God, immediately confessing sin to Him as He reveals it to you?
Focusing on external cleanness makes you look good. Religion looks good. But Jesus points out that relationship is more important than religion. Focusing on the inside will affect the way we behave. But focusing on behavior won’t necessarily help you on the inside.