Commentary on the Gospel of
Ritual cleansing before meals was customary among Jews and many do not know that the term “baptism” actually comes from the ritual cleansing common among the Jews especially in proselyte baptism. The ritual cleansing of self before meals is recommended in cases of contact with a corpse (Num 19:10-13), dead animals (Lev 17:15), seminal discharge (Lev 15:6-8) etc.
However, even in the Jewish context, these outward signs are meant to evoke something more profound; true righteousness. The problem of Jesus is that it no longer had this effect on the Pharisees. We should endevour to make every outward manifestation of our faith a true expression of a growing culture of love and justice within us.