Matthew 15; Matthew 16; Matthew 17

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Matthew 15

1 Some Pharisees and some teachers of the law came from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked,
2 "Why don't your disciples obey what the elders teach? Your disciples don't wash their hands before they eat!"
3 Jesus replied, "And why don't you obey God's command? You would rather follow your own teachings!
4 God said, 'Honor your father and mother.'(Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) He also said, 'If anyone calls down a curse on his father or mother, he will be put to death.'(Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9)
5 But you allow people to say to their parents, 'Any help you might have received from us is a gift set apart for God.'
6 So they do not need to honor their parents with their gift. You make the word of God useless in order to follow your own teachings.
7 "You pretenders! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. He said,
8 " 'These people honor me by what they say. But their hearts are far away from me.
9 Their worship doesn't mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.' " (Isaiah 29:13)
10 Jesus called the crowd to him. He said, "Listen and understand.
11 What goes into your mouth does not make you 'unclean.' It's what comes out of your mouth that makes you 'unclean.' "
12 Then the disciples came to him. They asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were angry when they heard this?"
13 Jesus replied, "There are plants that my Father in heaven has not planted. They will be pulled up by the roots.
14 Leave them. The Pharisees are blind guides. If a blind person leads another who is blind, both of them will fall into a pit."
15 Peter said, "Explain this to us."
16 "Don't you understand yet?" Jesus asked them.
17 "Don't you see? Everything that enters the mouth goes into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body.
18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. Those are the things that make you 'unclean.'
19 Evil thoughts come out of the heart. So do murder, adultery, and other sexual sins. And so do stealing, false witness, and telling lies about others.
20 Those are the things that make you 'unclean.' But eating without washing your hands does not make you 'unclean.' "
21 Jesus left Galilee and went to the area of Tyre and Sidon.
22 A woman from Canaan lived near Tyre and Sidon. She came to him and cried out, "Lord! Son of David! Have mercy on me! A demon controls my daughter. She is suffering terribly."
23 Jesus did not say a word. So his disciples came to him. They begged him, "Send her away. She keeps crying out after us."
24 Jesus answered, "I was sent only to the people of Israel. They are like lost sheep."
25 Then the woman fell to her knees in front of him. "Lord! Help me!" she said.
26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to their dogs."
27 "Yes, Lord," she said. "But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their owners' table."
28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! You will be given what you are asking for." And her daughter was healed at that very moment.
29 Jesus left there. He walked along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
30 Large crowds came to him. They brought blind people and those who could not walk. They also brought disabled people, those who could not speak, and many others. They laid them at his feet, and he healed them.
31 The people were amazed. Those who could not speak were speaking. The disabled were made well. Those not able to walk were walking. Those who were blind could see. So the people praised the God of Israel.
32 Then Jesus called for his disciples to come to him. He said, "I feel deep concern for these people. They have already been with me three days. They don't have anything to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry. If I do, they will become too weak on their way home."
33 His disciples answered him. "There is nothing here," they said. "Where could we get enough bread to feed this large crowd?"
34 "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
35 Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
36 He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks. Then he broke them and gave them to the disciples. And the disciples passed them out to the people.
37 All of them ate and were satisfied. After that, the disciples picked up seven baskets of leftover pieces.
38 The number of men who ate was 4,000. Women and children also ate.
39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat. He went to the area near Magadan.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Matthew 16

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to put Jesus to the test. They asked him to show them a miraculous sign from heaven.
2 He replied, "In the evening you look at the sky. You say, 'It will be good weather. The sky is red.'
3 And in the morning you say, 'Today it will be stormy. The sky is red and cloudy.' You know the meaning of what you see in the sky. But you can't understand the signs of what is happening right now.
4 An evil and unfaithful people look for a miraculous sign. But none will be given to them except the sign of Jonah." Then Jesus left them and went away.
5 The disciples crossed over to the other side of the lake. They had forgotten to take bread.
6 "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
7 The disciples talked about this among themselves. They said, "He must be saying this because we didn't bring any bread."
8 Jesus knew what they were saying. So he said, "Your faith is so small! Why are you talking to each other about having no bread?
9 Don't you understand yet? Don't you remember the five loaves for the 5,000? Don't you remember how many baskets of pieces you gathered?
10 Don't you remember the seven loaves for the 4,000? Don't you remember how many baskets of pieces you gathered?
11 How can you possibly not understand? I wasn't talking to you about bread. But watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
12 Then the disciples understood that Jesus was not telling them to watch out for the yeast used in bread. He was warning them against what the Pharisees and Sadducees taught.
13 Jesus went to the area of Caesarea Philippi. There he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Still others say Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ. You are the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! No mere man showed this to you. My Father in heaven showed it to you.
18 Here is what I tell you. You are Peter. On this rock I will build my church. The gates of hell will not be strong enough to destroy it.
19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you unlock on earth will be unlocked in heaven."
20 Then Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples what would happen to him. He told them he must go to Jerusalem. There he must suffer many things from the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. He must be killed and on the third day rise to life again.
22 Peter took Jesus to one side and began to scold him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This will never happen to you!"
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are standing in my way. You do not have in mind the things of God. Instead, you are thinking about human things."
24 Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. He said, "If anyone wants to follow me, he must say no to himself. He must pick up his cross and follow me.
25 If he wants to save his life, he will lose it. But if he loses his life for me, he will find it.
26 "What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses his soul? Or what can anyone trade for his soul?
27 The Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory. His angels will come with him. And he will reward everyone in keeping with what they have done.
28 "What I'm about to tell you is true. Some who are standing here will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Matthew 17

1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John the brother of James with him. He led them up a high mountain. They were all alone.
2 There in front of them his appearance was changed. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became as white as the light.
3 Just then Moses and Elijah appeared in front of them. Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters. One will be for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
5 While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud surrounded them. A voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!"
6 When the disciples heard this, they were terrified. They fell with their faces to the ground.
7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."
8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 They came down the mountain. On the way down, Jesus told them what to do. "Don't tell anyone what you have seen," he said. "Wait until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."
10 The disciples asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah has to come first?"
11 Jesus replied, "That's right. Elijah is supposed to come and make all things new again.
12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come. People didn't recognize him. They have done to him everything they wanted to do. In the same way, they are going to make the Son of Man suffer."
13 Then the disciples understood that Jesus was talking to them about John the Baptist.
14 When they came near the crowd, a man approached Jesus. He got on his knees in front of him.
15 "Lord," he said, "have mercy on my son. He shakes wildly and suffers a great deal. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
16 I brought him to your disciples. But they couldn't heal him."
17 "You unbelieving and evil people!" Jesus replied. "How long do I have to stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."
18 Jesus ordered the demon to leave the boy, and it came out of him. He was healed at that very moment.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private. They asked, "Why couldn't we drive out the demon?"
20 He replied, "Because your faith is much too small. What I'm about to tell you is true. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there.' And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
22 They came together in Galilee. Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be handed over to men.
23 They will kill him. On the third day he will rise from the dead." Then the disciples were filled with deep sadness.
24 Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum. There the tax collectors came to Peter. They asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
25 "Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke first. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "Who do the kings of the earth collect taxes and fees from? Do they collect from their own sons or from others?"
26 "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons don't have to pay," Jesus said to him.
27 "But we don't want to make them angry. So go to the lake and throw out your fishing line. Take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. There you will find the exact coin you need. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.