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That Which Defiles

7:1–23pp—Mt 15:1–20

7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled,g that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.h When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.a)i

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the eldersj instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“ ‘These people honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain;

their teachings are merely human rules.’b k

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”l

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observec your own traditions!m 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’d n and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’e o 11 But you sayp that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of Godq by your traditionr that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16]f

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked hims about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foodst clean.)u

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed,v malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

7:24–30pp—Mt 15:21–28

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.g w He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spiritx came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man

7:31–37pp—Mt 15:29–31

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyrey and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galileez and into the region of the Decapolis.h a 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk,b and they begged Jesus to place his hand onc him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spitd and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heavene and with a deep sighf said to him, Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.g

36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone.h But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


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