“Listen to me each one of you – and understand – there is nothing outside of a person that enters in that will defile them – but the things that come out of a person – these are the things that will defile that person.” (Mark 7:14-15)Jesus is speaking to the crowd of people who had gathered to hear his lecture:
After he called the crowd of people towards him, he said to them, ... (Mark 7:14)His statement follows up on this question posed to him:
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not maintain the traditions of the elders and eat food with unwashed hands?” (Mark 7:5)Thus we find that not only were these sectarian temple teachers (Pharisees and scribes) emphasizing these cleansing rituals among their followers. They were fault-finding Jesus and his followers for not also putting an emphasis on these rituals.
Jesus is thus responding to this teaching - that ceremoniously washing the outside of the physical body to keep the dirt or whatever off ("outside of a person that enters") can purify the person within - the spirit-person.
So what 'comes out of a person'?Jesus states that the things that come out of a person are what defile us. What comes "out of a person"? Is Jesus speaking of poop? Or taking a whiz? Don't be ridiculous.
Jesus is referring to what comes from within - from our heart. Speaking comes out of us. Because our words are an expression of our consciousness.
So how can what comes from within, including our words, defile us? Because how we express ourselves can either help others or further entrap others within the material world.
Jesus is using a double entendre - giving a second meaning to the concern of becoming internally cleansed. Jesus is stating that what makes a person cleansed internally is not what a person does to the outside of their body - i.e., washing the hands. But it is what a person says. This is what "comes out of a person."
So how can what a person says cleanse them internally?
Because what a person says can affect the consciousness of someone else.
For example, if a person talks about football, what will the listener become conscious of? Football. Or if a person were to get angry with another person and yell at them, how would they react? They might react with anger or self-defense. Both of which would significantly affect their consciousness.
Or if a person were to talk about how great it was to get drunk and have sex - how would that affect the listener? They would start thinking about drinking and having sex.
According to Jesus' statement here, speaking in materialistic ways like this would "defile" a person. Why? Because such statements are affecting the consciousness of someone else in a materialistic manner. By affecting our fellow brothers and sisters in a materialistic manner, we become negatively affected along with the person we affect.
This is an important aspect of Jesus' teachings because it relates to loving and caring for those around us. We are inexplicably connected. We are each God's children, and thus family members in the most intimate manner. Should we treat others poorly, that not only affects those we treat poorly. It also affects us poorly.
Speaking the Truth has the opposite effectBy default, Jesus is also saying that speaking the Truth to another person does have a purifying effect upon others, and consequently, us as well.
If a person were to speak the Truth to someone else - speaking about God, recanting God's Holy Names or the reality of our existence - that would affect their consciousness completely differently. It would make them think higher thoughts - thoughts about God and our existence.
Such an effect upon someone else, according to Jesus' teaching here, not just affects the other person in a positive or spiritual manner. It also affects the person who speaks the Truth. That person becomes purified.
Who becomes defiled or purified?
This notion of defilement (or the inverse, purification) according to Jesus' statement takes the concept of cleansing to a deeper level. Since the body's being dirty from the outside doesn't defile a person but what someone says to another person does, Jesus is not speaking of the physical body with respect to defilement - or the inverse - purification.
This means the real question relates to what Jesus is referring to as becoming defiled or purified.
Jesus is speaking of the spiritual person within. Not the physical body.
This is the underlying issue of this statement. Jesus is referring to our identity. The reality that we are not these physical bodies. We are spirit-persons temporarily residing within the physical body, and at the time of death each of us must leave the physical body.
They assumed we are the physical bodyJesus is illustrating that these temple teachers were confusing the physical body with the person within. Just as do many institutional teachers today, the Pharisees believed in resurrection, though they were not clear about what would be resurrecting The Sadducees did not even accept resurrection. They did not believe there was a spiritual person within who would "rise up" from the physical body at the time of death:
Then some sadducees – who say there is no resurrection – approached him. (Luke 20:27)Jesus, however, taught the real meaning of resurrection. What is resurrection? It is the spirit-person rising from the physical body at the time of death - and either returning to the spiritual realm ("resurrection of the living") or returning to the physical world ("resurrection of the dead") to be born within another physical body.
This is confirmed by the Biblical use of the word "resurrection" - is translated from the Greek word ἀνάστασις (anastasis) - which means, according to the lexicon, "raising up, rising," and "a rising from the dead."
So who rises from the dead body at resurrection? It is the spirit-person within.
Resurrection and the spirit-personThis reality is evidenced by the Sadducees' question and Jesus' answer:
They asked him, “Teacher, Moses wrote that if a man’s brother – who has a wife and no children – dies, his brother should marry the wife and raise children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife and died childless. The second and the third married her and similarly, all seven died leaving no children. Then finally the woman died. Therefore, in the resurrection, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “The subjects of this world marry and are given in marriage. But those considered worthy to attain the other world – indeed, be resurrected from death – will neither marry nor are given in marriage. For they cannot die anymore because they are spiritual and are the servants of God – being the subjects of the resurrection. This is because those who die will rise up. Even Moses illustrated this in the verses about the burning bush, where he calls the LORD, ‘The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ So He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Because all these live for Him.” (Luke 20:28-38)Jesus is detailing that those Prophets are still alive even though their bodies died. What is alive? It is the spirit-person who rises from the body at the time of death. The fact that they are still alive - living with God in the spiritual realm - testifies that they aren't the physical body.
And within the context of this statement - we can understand that Jesus is referring to "world" or "universe" - because he is speaking about death within this world, as well as about angels and rising from the body at the time of death to return to another world - the spiritual world.
This relates directly to the word "resurrection" - "raising up, rising," and "a rising from the dead."
Jesus is speaking of the difference between this physical world and the spiritual realm - and the difference between the physical body and the spirit-person, who rises from the body and returns to the spiritual realm.
This is clear because people of the physical world will marry, and in the spiritual realm people - the angels - do not marry. Also it states, clearly that while bodies of the physical world will die, there is no death in the spiritual realm - our spiritual selves (spirit-persons) are eternal:
"For they cannot die anymore because they are spiritual and are the servants of God – being the subjects of the resurrection. This is because those who die will rise up."Thus it is clear that those who "rise up" - meaning those who leave their physical body and return to the spiritual realm - are made of a different substance compared to the physical body. Namely, they are "spiritual." Jesus speaks of the pure spirit-person form. Each of us - beneath these physical bodies and our false identification with them - have a spiritual form that does not die, according to Jesus.
Resurrection and devotionThis statement by Jesus clearly means that those who rise from the physical body at the time of death and return to the spiritual realm are those who have dedicated their lives to the Supreme Being. Let's look at this closely.
The phrase "servants of God" in the above statement comes from the phrase, υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ. The word θεοῦ means Supreme Being and υἱοί is the plural form of the Greek word υἱός (huios). This is the same word translated to "son of God" - υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ. In other words, Jesus is describing a plural version of how he is described by others - the servant of God. When this is translated to "sons" in many sectarian versions, it doesn't make much sense:
“nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."and the English Standard Version
"for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."When "sons" are used instead of "servants," it doesn't make much sense. How can a person be a "son" of "the resurrection"?
But when the word υἱοὶ is translated to "servants" it makes more sense, because the word relates to a subordinate or subject. This can include a "son" when speaking of a physical family. But when speaking spiritually, servant is a better choice.
The lexicon confirms this. The word can mean, "in a restricted sense, the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother)." But the word also means, according to the lexicon, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower."
Jesus is most certainly using - just as his disciples used when they described their Spiritual Teacher, Jesus - the meaning, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower" with respect to their relationship with the Supreme Being.
Consider this carefully. Remember that the use of this word precedes the Greek phrase, τοῦ θεοῦ - which literally means "of God." Thus, who is someone who "depends on" God and someone who "is his follower" - a follower of God - ?
This is most certainly someone who has surrendered himself to the Supreme Being and is focused on loving and serving God.
This is the description Jesus is giving those who rise from their physical bodies at the time of death and return to the spiritual realm - those who have surrendered themselves to the Supreme Being and are loving and serving Him.
This could be better encapsulated into the term "loving servant of God" or even "devotee of God."
The point of this foray into Jesus' discussion of resurrection is that Jesus is describing someone who has become spiritually pure - and thus eligible to return to the spiritual realm to resume their spiritual relationship with the Supreme Being.
External cleansing versus devotionYes, our spiritual progress is related to how we treat others. This is why Jesus also connected God forgiving us with our forgiving others:
"Please forgive our offenses, for we also forgive everyone who has offended us.’" (Luke 11:4)And this is why Jesus connected loving others with loving the Supreme Being:
“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction. And the second is like it – ‘You shall love others as yourself.’ There is no other instruction greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)Why is Jesus emphasizing that we love others in connection with loving God?
Because each of us is created by the Supreme Being with the purpose of love: Loving God and loving each other.
And naturally, such love and devotion "come out of a person."