It has well been said that the heart of a matter is a matter of the heart. Children’s television and movies are laden with the message, “follow your heart.” Gone are the days of Pinnochio with the message, “always let your conscience be your guide.” Discerning right from wrong just doesn’t sell anymore; but it’s easy to capture those given over to their basest desires. Jesus taught that it is these desires (those that come from within) that defile a man.
The Pharisees were concerned with the outward. They thought it was a sin to eat with unwashed hands. Hence they sought reason to accuse Jesus and His disciples. Christ wasn’t having any of it. He came to seek and to save them that were lost; and the Pharisees were indeed lost, blinded by their own self righteous to their true spiritual condition. Just a few verses earlier, Jesus calls them blind leaders of the blind. This is exactly the state of all men everywhere who refuse to acknowledge the corruption of their own, deceitful heart. Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
There is equality in the Bible. Mankind everywhere stands in an equally sinful state before a Holy God. Our hearts are the same: deceitful, wicked, and in need of redemption. Even once Christ has so gloriously changed our nature, we still need to heed the command of Proverbs 4:23. Otherwise, the characteristics of Matt 15:19 will so naturally cling to us and render us ineffective in our service for our King. So, keep thy heart.