Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to interview Jesus.
"Why do your disciples disobey our age-old traditions?" they demanded. "They ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat."
Jesus replied, "And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?
For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.'
References for Matthew 15:4
But you say, 'You don't need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.'
And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said,
'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.'"
References for Matthew 15:9
Then Jesus called to the crowds and said, "Listen to what I say and try to understand.
You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do."
References for Matthew 15:11
Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?"
Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be rooted up,
so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch."
Then Peter asked Jesus, "Explain what you meant when you said people aren't defiled by what they eat."
"Don't you understand?" Jesus asked him.
"Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body.
But evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them.
For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God!"
Jesus then left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter has a demon in her, and it is severely tormenting her."
References for Matthew 15:22
But Jesus gave her no reply -- not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. "Tell her to leave," they said. "She is bothering us with all her begging."
Then he said to the woman, "I was sent only to help the people of Israel -- God's lost sheep -- not the Gentiles."
But she came and worshiped him and pleaded again, "Lord, help me!"
"It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs," he said.
"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even dogs are permitted to eat crumbs that fall beneath their master's table."
"Woman," Jesus said to her, "your faith is great. Your request is granted." And her daughter was instantly healed.
Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down.
A vast crowd brought him the lame, blind, crippled, mute, and many others with physical difficulties, and they laid them before Jesus. And he healed them all.
The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn't been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking around, and those who had been blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the road."
The disciples replied, "And where would we get enough food out here in the wilderness for all of them to eat?"
Jesus asked, "How many loaves of bread do you have?" They replied, "Seven, and a few small fish."
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, broke them into pieces, and gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.
They all ate until they were full, and when the scraps were picked up, there were seven large baskets of food left over!
There were four thousand men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.
Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.