Out of the Heart
December 12, 2020
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things (Matthew 12:34-35).
To the Hebrews the heart was the center of life - it was the core of one’s being. If the heart was right, the life would be right. If the heart was evil, the life would be evil. Jesus emphasized that principle as He continued in His assessment of the Pharisees who accused Him of being a servant of Satan.
Jesus applied His previous argument to the Pharisees (see vv. 25-32) by calling them poisonous snakes. To the Jew there was nothing more evil in the physical world than the snake. It was the instrument Satan used to tempt Even in Eden which in turn brought sin into the world. The Pharisees were a wicked group, like poisonous vipers, with a corrupt and evil nature. They could not be expected to speak good things regarding Jesus. They refused to speak favorably of Him and His ministry.
As the bad fruit of a tree is the product of its ‘nature’, so were the words of the Pharisees about Jesus; their words were the product of their evil nature. The ‘abundance’ or fullness of their ‘heart’ produced the evil words of their lips. These were strong words used by Jesus, who is often thought of as being meek and mild toward practically everyone. Even so, His words were not motivated by anger and malice; they spoke of the true character of the Pharisees.
Evil thoughts and words and sinful actions are the product of a heart filled with sin and overflows with of the spirit of wickedness. Holy thoughts and words and righteous deeds are the product of a heart that is filled with the Holy Spirit and overflows with love for God and one’s neighbors.
The ‘good treasure the heart’ is not what a person naturally possesses, but what is placed in his heart by the grace, love, and mercy of Jesus Christ; they are the good things of Christ in him. Had the Pharisees been true men of God, they would have recognized Jesus for who He truly was and would have humbled themselves before Him, embraced Him as Messiah, and followed Him as faithful servants. But such was not the case because they were not men of faith in God; they had no genuine experience with the Lord that would have changed their nature and thereby changed their lives. They were not filled with the good treasure of God in their heart. Instead, they were filled with dead bones (Matthew 23:27).
“Lord Jesus, Your Word says the heart is deceitful above all things, who can trust it? Apart from You there is no goodness in my heart, there is no worthy treasure to share with others. I would be nothing more than a Pharisee. Thank You that You have taken my evil heart and replaced it with a heart of love for You and for others. For this I will be forever grateful to You. Amen.”