Redefine What Defiles
The Jewish tradition of using parables was a common way to teach morals and ethics in a complicated fashion. Indeed, these slightly convoluted stories and teachings allowed the listener to analyze, question and reflect deeply about the message of the parable. No doubt this was a favorite method of teaching for Jesus of Nazareth. Feeling the opposition from the Pharisees and Sadducees sects of Judaism, Jesus used the following parable to shake the established doctrines of cleanliness of kosher foods and how to maintain a clean soul. This parable is shared by both the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew:
From both versions of the parable, the word “defile” is the most prominent aspect of the parable. It is a strong word that means “to make dirty or foul” and Jesus uses this word in many ways. First, Jesus explains that defiling the body with evil that comes from the heart and out the mouth. Second, Jesus denounces the perception of unclean food to make a person evil. Thus, it can be understood that all food is clean and that the acts of a person can either purify or defile the soul. There are multiple instances of the word “defile” in the New Testament. However, the examples that pertain to the soul and food come from the multiple letters of Paul and the letter of James, found after the Gospels: 1.
It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” (1 Corinthians 8.7-8) 2.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12.15) 3.
Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Hebrews 13.4) 4....
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