Jesus Breaks Religious Traditions
1Then the Pharisees and religious scholars # 15:1 Or “scribes,” considered to be experts in interpreting Jewish laws. came from Jerusalem and asked Jesus this question: 2“Why do your disciples ignore the traditions of our elders? For example, they don’t ceremonially wash their hands before they eat bread.”
3Jesus answered, “And why do you ignore the commandment of God because of your traditions? 4For didn’t God say, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Whoever abuses or insults his father or mother must be put to death?’ # 15:4 See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9.
5“But you teach that it’s permissible to say to your parents when they are in financial need, ‘Whatever gift you would have received from me I can keep for myself, since I dedicated it as an offering to God.’ 6This doesn’t honor your father or mother. And you have elevated your tradition above the words of God. 7Frauds and hypocrites! Isaiah described you perfectly when he said:
8These people honor me only with their words,
for their hearts are so very distant from me.
9They pretend to worship me,
but their worship is nothing more
than the empty traditions of men.” # 15:9 See Isa. 29:13.
10Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “Come, listen and open your heart to understand. 11What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his mouth but what comes out of his mouth. That’s what makes people defiled.”
12Then his disciples approached him and said, “Don’t you know that what you just said offended the Pharisees?”
13Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant is destined to be uprooted. 14Stay away from them, # 15:14 The Aramaic is “Let them remain blind! For they are nothing more than blind leaders of the blind.” for they’re nothing more than blind guides. Do you know what happens when a blind man pretends to guide another blind man? They both stumble into a ditch!”
15Peter spoke up and said, “Will you explain to us what you mean by your parable?”
16Jesus said, “Even after all that I’ve taught you, you still remain clueless? 17Is it hard to understand that whatever you eat enters the stomach only to pass out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. Words can pollute, not food. 19You will find living within an impure heart evil ideas, murderous thoughts, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lies, and slander. # 15:19 Or “blasphemies.” 20That’s what pollutes a person. Eating with unwashed hands doesn’t defile anyone.”
A Lebanese Woman’s Faith
21Then Jesus left and went north into the non-Jewish region of Lebanon. # 15:21 Or “Tyre and Sidon,” both cities of Lebanon. 22He encountered there a Canaanite woman # 15:22 The Hebrew Matthew is “a Canaanite merchant woman.” Canaan included the region of modern-day Lebanon. Canaanite refers to a non-Jewish person who lived in that region. It was in this very region that an Old Testament woman named Jezebel established Baal worship. Now Jesus heals a woman and brings her into the true worship of God. who shouted out to him, “Lord, Son of David, show mercy to me! My daughter is horribly afflicted by a demon that torments her.” 23But Jesus never answered her. So his disciples said to him, “Why do you ignore this woman who is crying out to us?” # 15:23 As translated from Hebrew Matthew. The Greek is “The disciples kept begging Jesus to send her away.”
24Jesus said, “I’ve only been sent to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!”
26Jesus responded, “It’s not right for a man to take bread from his children and throw it out to the dogs.” # 15:26 Jesus uses a figure of speech and describes the people of Israel as “children” who view the non-Jewish people as “dogs.”
27“You’re right, Lord,” she replied. “But even puppies get to eat the crumbs that fall from the prince’s table.”
28Then Jesus answered her, “Dear woman, your faith is strong! What you desire will be done for you.” And at that very moment, her daughter was instantly set free from demonic torment.
Jesus Heals Many Others
29After leaving Lebanon, Jesus went to Lake Galilee and climbed a hill nearby and sat down. 30Then huge crowds of people streamed up the hill, bringing with them the lame, blind, deformed, mute, and many others in need of healing. They laid them at Jesus’ feet and he healed them all.
31And the crowds marveled with amazement, astounded over the things they were witnessing with their own eyes! The lame were walking, the mute were speaking, the crippled were made well, and the blind could see. For three days everyone celebrated the miracles as they exalted and praised the God of Israel!
Jesus Feeds Thousands
32Jesus called his disciples to himself and said, “I care deeply about all these people, for they’ve already been with me for three days without food. I don’t want to send them away fasting or else they may be overcome by weakness on their journey home.”
33The disciples said to him, “Where in the world are we going to find enough food in this desolate place to feed this crowd?”
34“How many barley loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35So he gave the order, “Have the people sit down on the grass.” 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks to God. He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, who then distributed the food to the crowds. 37When everyone was full and satisfied, they gathered up the leftovers. And from what was once seven loaves and a few fish, they filled seven baskets! # 15:37 The Greek word used here implies a very large basket, possibly the size of a person. 38There were four thousand men who ate the food Jesus multiplied, and even more including the women and children!
39After dismissing the crowd, Jesus got into the boat and crossed over to the region of Magdala. # 15:39 Or “Magadan.” This was a place where fish were salted and preserved. Magdala means “tower.” Magdala was the town that Mary Magdalene came from. Perhaps during this visit is when they first met.