One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to confront Jesus.
They noticed that some of Jesus' disciples failed to follow the usual Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating.
(The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, a as required by their ancient traditions.
Similarly, they eat nothing bought from the market unless they have immersed their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to -- such as their ceremony of washing cups, pitchers, and kettles.b)
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony."
Jesus replied, "You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said,7'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.' c8For you ignore God's specific laws and substitute your own traditions."9
Then he said, "You reject God's laws in order to hold on to your own traditions. 10For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.' d11But 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 could have given to you.' e12You let them disregard their needy parents. 13As such, you break the law of God in order to protect your own tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others."14
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. "All of you listen," he said, "and try to understand. 15You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do! f "16g17
Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowds, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the statement he had made.
18"Don't you understand either?" he asked. "Can't you see that what you eat won't defile you? 19Food doesn't come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then comes out again." (By saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable.)
And then he added, "It is the thought-life that defiles you. 21For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God."24
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. h He tried to keep it secret that he was there, but he couldn't. As usual, the news of his arrival spread fast.
Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about Jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet.
She begged him to release her child from the demon's control.Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia,
Jesus told her, "First I should help my own family, the Jews. i It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs."28
She replied, "That's true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are given some crumbs from the children's plates."
29"Good answer!" he said. "And because you have answered so well, I have healed your daughter." 30
And when she arrived home, her little girl was lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.
Jesus left Tyre and went to Sidon, then back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. j32
A 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.
Jesus led him to a private place away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man's ears. Then, spitting onto his own fingers, he touched the man's tongue with the spittle.
And looking up to heaven, he sighed and commanded, "Be opened!" k35
Instantly the man could hear perfectly and speak plainly!
Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news,
for they were completely amazed. Again and again they said, "Everything he does is wonderful. He even heals those who are deaf and mute."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)