You see, Jesus saw that the Pharisees were teaching people to wash their hands in order to be right with God. Jesus told them that it doesn’t work that way. Hands and clothes can be as white as snow without the heart changing a single bit.
The hands aren’t the guilty members. Dirty hands can have germs and dirt on them but that’s not what God is interested in. God isn’t checking under fingernails for hidden grease and He isn’t looking for tidy, sparkling white outfits. He is searching for clean hearts. Here’s what David said 1000 years before Jesus sat down with His disciples to teach them:
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Let’s be real. David wasn’t talking about hand-washing, was he? We all know that it’s the heart that he was referring to. Jesus knew this and He used the Sermon On The Mount to tell the world that being pure before God doesn’t happen because we do our laundry or take a bath. It’s something that happens to us on the inside. It’s about making our hearts right with God.
Read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Go ahead. It will take you less than 2 minutes. I’ll wait.
Now, does that sound like God just wants you to have a sink and a towel handy or run a load through the washing machine? Of course not. Jesus knew that those things only make you look better on the outside. He taught us the Beatitudes to teach us how to truly be pure. That’s what katharos is all about.
The Beatitudes are the pathway to having a clean and pure heart. That kind of purity can only happen through a relationship with Jesus. Only He can make you clean before God.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”