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Matthew 15:11

This defileth the man (touto koinoi ton anqrwpon). This word is from koino which is used in two senses, either what is "common" to all and general like the Koin Greek, or what is unclean and "common" either ceremonially or in reality. The ceremonial "commonness" disturbed Peter on the housetop in Joppa ( Acts 10:14 ). See also Acts 21:28 ; Hebrews 9:13 . One who is thus religiously common or unclean is cut off from doing his religious acts. "Defilement" was a grave issue with the rabbinical ceremonialists. Jesus appeals to the crowd here: Hear and understand (akouete kai suniete). He has a profound distinction to draw. Moral uncleanness is what makes a man common, defiles him. That is what is to be dreaded, not to be glossed over. "This goes beyond the tradition of the elders and virtually abrogates the Levitical distinctions between clean and unclean" (Bruce). One can see the pettifogging pretenders shrivel up under these withering words.

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