For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Jesus’s list of evil intentions is comprehensive. Actions and attitudes that hurt individuals, families and communities. This list shows him getting to the heart of the matter of bad behaviour and not just skimming the surface of things as the other religious leaders of his day were. They were more concerned with appearances than with people. They wanted to show they were righteous and pure by their adherence to the law and by the way they presented themselves to the world.
Yet Jesus exposes that hypocrisy and drills down to the purpose of the law, that being clean before God comes from within the human heart and mind. They tried to close themselves off to God by showing a clean and shiny exterior. Jesus indicates that we need to open ourselves up to God and experience that liberation from the inside out.