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God’s Law and Human Traditions
(Mt. 15:1–20)
1Some Pharisees and some teachers of the law came from Jerusalem and gathered around Jesus. 2They saw that some of his followers ate food with hands that were not clean, meaning that they did not wash their hands in a special way. 3The Pharisees and all the other Jews never eat before washing their hands in this special way. They do this to follow the traditions they have from their great leaders who lived long ago. 4And when these Jews buy something in the market, they never eat it until they wash it in a special way. They also follow other rules from their people who lived before them. They follow rules like the washing of cups, pitchers, and pots.#7:4 pots Some Greek copies add “and couches.”
5The Pharisees and teachers of the law said to Jesus, “Your followers don’t follow the traditions we have from our great leaders who lived long ago. They eat their food with hands that are not clean. Why do they do this?”
6Jesus answered, “You are all hypocrites. Isaiah was right when he wrote these words from God about you:
‘These people honor me with their words,
but I am not really important to them.
7Their worship of me is worthless.
The things they teach are only human rules.’ Isaiah 29:13
8You have stopped following God’s commands, preferring instead the man-made rules you got from others.”
9Then he said, “You show great skill in avoiding the commands of God so that you can follow your own teachings! 10Moses said, ‘You must respect your father and mother.’#Quote from Ex. 20:12Deut. 5:16 He also said, ‘Whoever says anything bad to their father or mother must be killed.’#Quote from Ex. 21:17 11But you teach that people can say to their father or mother, ‘I have something I could use to help you, but I will not use it for you. I will give it to God.’ 12You are telling people that they do not have to do anything for their father or mother. 13So you are teaching that it is not important to do what God said. You think it is more important to follow those traditions you have, which you pass on to others. And you do many things like that.”
14Jesus called the people to him again. He said, “Everyone should listen to me and understand what I am saying. 15There is nothing people can put in their mouth that will make them wrong.#7:15 wrong Literally, “unclean” or “not pure,” meaning unacceptable to God. Also in verse 20. People are made wrong by what comes from inside them.” 16#7:16 Some Greek copies add verse 16: “You people who hear me, listen!”
17Then Jesus left the people and went into the house. The followers asked Jesus about what he had told the people. 18He said, “Do you still have trouble understanding? Surely you know that nothing that enters the mouth from the outside can make people unacceptable to God. 19Food does not go into a person’s mind. It goes into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body.” (When Jesus said this, he meant there is no food that is wrong for people to eat.)
20And Jesus said, “The things that make people wrong are the things that come from the inside. 21All these bad things begin inside a person, in the mind: bad thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, 22adultery, greed, doing bad things to people, lying, doing things that are morally wrong, jealousy, insulting people, proud talking, and foolish living. 23These evil things come from inside a person. And these are the things that make people unacceptable to God.”
Jesus Helps a Non-Jewish Woman
(Mt. 15:21–28)
24Jesus went from there to the area around Tyre. He did not want the people in that area to know he was there, so he went into a house. But he could not stay hidden. 25A woman heard that he was there. Her little daughter had an evil spirit inside her. So the woman came to Jesus and bowed down near his feet. 26She was not a Jew. She was born in Phoenicia, an area in Syria. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter.
27Jesus told the woman, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs. First let the children eat all they want.”
28She answered, “That is true, Lord. But the dogs under the table can eat the pieces of food that the children don’t eat.”
29Then he told her, “That is a very good answer. You may go. The demon has left your daughter.”
30The woman went home and found her daughter lying on the bed. The demon was gone.
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31Then Jesus left the area around Tyre and went through Sidon. On his way to Lake Galilee he went through the area of the Ten Towns. 32While he was there, some people brought a man to him who was deaf and could not talk clearly. The people begged Jesus to put his hand on the man to heal him.
33Jesus led the man away from the people to be alone with him. He put his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit on a finger and put it on the man’s tongue. 34Jesus looked up to the sky and with a loud sigh he said, “Ephphatha!” (This means “Open!”) 35As soon as Jesus did this, the man was able to hear. He was able to use his tongue, and he began to speak clearly.
36Jesus told the people not to tell anyone about this. But the more he told them not to say anything, the more people they told. 37They were all completely amazed. They said, “Look at what he has done. It’s all good. He makes deaf people able to hear and gives a new voice to people who could not talk.”
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