In today's passage, the religious leaders of the Jews take issue with Jesus because his disciples don't wash their hands before they eat and so they become ceremonially unclean. But Jesus wants his disciples to understand that the real issue isn't about some ceremonial washing and cleanness, the real issue is that we are morally unclean and we need a way to wash away our guilt and shame.
1. God's law shows us that no unclean person can come before God.
2. We cannot make ourselves clean by our own efforts (either by fencing against the law or by indulgence) because the uncleanness is inside us.
3. Only Jesus can make us clean. Jesus is our high priest who entered the holy place carrying his own blood and offered himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He became unclean in order to make us clean.
1. What are some laws you have created for yourself that excuse you of your sins or ease you of your conscience?
2. Do you believe what Jesus said in vv.20-23? "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
3. What would coming to Jesus and receiving from him the cleansing of your soul mean to you? What new affections and habits would you want the Spirit of Christ to create in you?
4. We say we are a Biblical, Gospel-centered, praying, city-loving, missional community. There are many in our city who have yet to experience Jesus' cleansing. Would you pray for them? Would you share with them the good news of Jesus? Would you invite them into our Christian community?
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