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Matthew 15

15
What Makes People Unclean?
1Some Pharisees and teachers of the law came from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They complained, 2“Why don’t your disciples follow what the elders teach? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3Jesus answered, “Why don’t you follow God’s commands instead of your own teachings? 4God said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ God also said, ‘Anyone who asks for bad things to happen to their father or mother must be put to death.’ 5Suppose someone has money they could use to help their parents. You tell them they can say it’s ‘a gift set apart only for God.’ 6Then they don’t need to use that money to honor their father or mother. If the word of God clashes with your own teachings, you say it doesn’t apply. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you,
8“ ‘These people honor me with their mouths,
but their hearts are far away from me.
9It’s useless for them to worship me,
because they’re teaching only human rules.’ ”
10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11What goes into a person’s mouth doesn’t make them unclean. What comes out of their mouth does.”
12Then the disciples came to him and said, “Did you know that the Pharisees got angry when they heard that?”
13Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father hasn’t planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Don’t worry about the Pharisees. They’re blind guides. If one blind person leads another, they’ll both fall into a pit.”
15Peter asked, “But what did you mean by what you said?”
16“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus replied. 17“Don’t you see? Everything that enters the mouth goes into the stomach, and from there it goes out of the body. 18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart. Those are the things that make someone unclean. 19Out of a person’s heart come cruel thoughts, murder, adultery, other sexual sins, stealing, false testimony, and lies. 20Those are the things that make you unclean. But eating without washing your hands doesn’t make you unclean.”
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21Jesus left Galilee and went to the area of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman who lived near there came to him and cried out, “Lord! Son of David! Have mercy on me! A demon has been controlling my daughter and making her suffer terribly.”
23Jesus didn’t say a word. So his disciples came and begged him, “Tell her to go away! She keeps following us and crying out for help.”
24Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25Then the woman fell on her knees in front of him. “Lord! Help me!” she said.
26He replied, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it out to the dogs.”
27“That’s true, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”
28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! You will receive what you’ve asked for.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus Feeds Four Thousand
29Jesus left there and walked along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30Large crowds came to him, bringing people who were blind, who couldn’t walk, who were disabled, who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them at his feet, and he healed them. Those who couldn’t speak started speaking, those with disabilities were made well, those who couldn’t walk started walking, and those who were blind became able to see. 31The people were amazed when they saw all this, and they praised the God of Israel.
32Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I’m concerned for these people because they’ve already been with me for three days and they’ve run out of food to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, because if I do, they may be too weak to make it back home.”
33His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread to feed this large crowd? We’re in the middle of nowhere.”
34“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to the disciples. They passed them out to the people. 37Everyone ate as much as they wanted, and after that, the disciples picked up seven full baskets of leftover pieces. 38Just counting the men, they fed about 4,000 people, and there were many women and children as well. 39Jesus sent the crowd away, and then he got into the boat and went to the area near Magadan.
15
What Pollutes Your Life
1-2After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”
3-9But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”
10-11He then called the crowd together and said, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.”
12Later his disciples came and told him, “Did you know how upset the Pharisees were when they heard what you said?”
13-14Jesus shrugged it off. “Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.”
15Peter said, “I don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
16-20Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”
Healing the People
21-22From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
23Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
24Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
25Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”
26He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”
27She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
28Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.
29-31After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them.
32But Jesus wasn’t finished with them. He called his disciples and said, “I hurt for these people. For three days now they’ve been with me, and now they have nothing to eat. I can’t send them away without a meal—they’d probably collapse on the road.”
33His disciples said, “But where in this deserted place are you going to dig up enough food for a meal?”
34-39Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they said, “plus a few fish.” At that, Jesus directed the people to sit down. He took the seven loaves and the fish. After giving thanks, he divided it up and gave it to the people. Everyone ate. They had all they wanted. It took seven large baskets to collect the leftovers. Over four thousand people ate their fill at that meal. After Jesus sent them away, he climbed in the boat and crossed over to the Magadan hills.