Read: Matthew 15
This passage rocks my world every time I read it! It is very convicting…
The pious religious leaders ask Jesus a question… although it’s not really a question. Like always, they are trying to trick and discredit Him.
Their accusation this time centers around the fact that His disciples aren’t obeying the ceremonial hand washing laws. When they ask Jesus why, He uses it as a time to expose their wicked hearts.
Why do YOUR traditions violate the direct commandments of God? …you cancel the Word of God for the sake of your own traditions.
Then Jesus really lets them have it! You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
It’s what Jesus says next that really cuts to my heart…
It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
Ken Whitten, my friend and pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church always said, “What’s down in the well will come up in the bucket!”
When I began to think about this I came under deep conviction. I’m not always proud of what comes up in my bucket – but this reveals even a deeper problem.
All of that must come from somewhere! It does – my evil heart.
It leads us to pray what David prayed in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
What’s been coming up in your bucket?
[i.e., your words, your actions, your habits]
Focus on the real problem – the problem isn't the bucket – it’s the well!
Ask God to purify you through the Word (John 17:17) and change for His glory!
By: Tim Parsons
“the problem isn't the bucket – it’s the well!”
This will stick with me for a long time Tim. Very convicting and something I needed to hear. I love how Jesus often responded to a question with a question of His own. Sometimes He responded with silence. My natural inclination is to respond to a question with an answer. Jesus always listened to men’s questions to determine what was at their heart before responding. His words were always measured and instructive.
I’m grateful we live in a time when the Word of God is so easily accessible for us to study. Thanks again Tim and to all of our faithful Jumpstart commentary writers. Each one of you are a blessing!
Thanks for being a faithful JumpStart reader Mike!
This passage goes hand-in-hand with what I have been studying recently in James 3:9-12.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s the heart (the well) that matters. We can try as hard as we can to change our speech and actions. But until we address the heart (the source of the problem), it is futile. Instead, filling the heart with God’s Word will naturally affect what comes out.