Followers of Tradition
1Now the Pharisees and some of the scribes came from Jerusalem and gathered around Him, 2and they had seen that some of His disciples ate their bread with [ceremonially] impure hands, that is, unwashed [and defiled according to Jewish religious ritual]. 3(For the Pharisees and all of the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, holding firmly to the traditions of the elders; 4and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves [completely according to ritual]; and there are many other things [oral, man-made laws and traditions handed down to them] which they follow diligently, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper utensils.) 5So the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, “Why do Your disciples not live their lives according to the tradition of the elders, but [instead] eat their bread with [ceremonially] unwashed hands?” 6He replied, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders), as it is written [in Scripture],
‘These people honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7They worship Me in vain [their worship is meaningless and worthless, a pretense],
Teaching the precepts of men as doctrines [giving their traditions equal weight with the Scriptures].’
8You disregard and neglect the commandment of God, and cling [faithfully] to the tradition of men.”
9He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside and nullifying the commandment of God in order to keep your [man-made] tradition and regulations. 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother [with respect and gratitude]’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of his father or mother must be put to death’; 11but you [Pharisees and scribes] say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you is Corban, (that is to say, already a gift to God),” ’ 12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother [since helping them would violate his vow of Corban]; 13so you nullify the [authority of the] word of God [acting as if it did not apply] because of your tradition which you have handed down [through the elders]. And you do many things such as that.”
The Heart of Man
14After He called the people to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying]: 15there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him. 16[If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
17When Jesus had left the crowd and gone into the house, His disciples asked Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you, too, so foolish and lacking in understanding? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile and dishonor him, 19since it does not enter his heart, but [only] his stomach, and [from there it] is eliminated?” (By this, He declared all foods ceremonially clean.) 20And He said, “Whatever comes from [the heart of] a man, that is what defiles and dishonors him. 21For from within, [that is] out the heart of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). 23All these evil things [schemes and desires] come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
The Syrophoenician Woman
24Jesus got up and left there and went to the region of Tyre [and Sidon, the coastal area of Phoenicia]. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know about it; but it was impossible for Him to be hidden [from the public]. 25Instead, after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile (Greek), a Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept pleading with Him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27He was saying to her, “First let the children [of Israel] be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the pet dogs (non-Jews).” 28But she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the pet dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29And He said to her, “Because of this answer [reflecting your humility and faith], go [knowing that your request is granted]; the demon has left your daughter [permanently].” 30And returning to her home, she found the child lying on the couch [relaxed and resting], the demon having gone.
31Soon after this Jesus left the region of Tyre, and passed through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of Decapolis [the ten Hellenistic cities]. 32They brought to Him a man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him. 33Jesus, taking him aside by himself, away from the crowd, put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue [with the saliva]; 34and looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which [in Aramaic] means, “Be opened and released!” 35And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he began speaking plainly. 36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37They were thoroughly astounded and completely overwhelmed, saying, “He has done everything well! He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”