Jesus Teaches about Inner Purity
1One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3(The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. 4Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
5So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
6Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
8For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
9Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 12In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
14Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
17Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18“Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
The Faith of a Gentile Woman
24Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. 25Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, 26and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.
Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
28She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
29“Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. 32A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
33Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 34Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” 35Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
36Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. 37They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”