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Matthew 15 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The dangers of tradition

15 1-2 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came and asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples break our ancient tradition and eat their food without washing their hands properly?”

3-9 “Tell me,” replied Jesus, “why do you break God’s commandment through your tradition? For God said, ‘Honour your father and your mother’, and ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death’. But you say that if a man tells his parents, ‘Whatever use I might have been to you is now given to God’, then he owes no further duty to his parents. And so your tradition empties the commandment of God of all its meaning. You hypocrites! Isaiah describes you beautifully when he said: ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’.”

Superficial and true cleanliness

10-11 Then he called the crowd to him and said, “Listen, and understand this thoroughly! It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him common or unclean. It is what comes out of a man’s mouth that makes him unclean.”

12 Later his disciples came to him and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees are deeply offended by what you said?”

13-14 “Every plant which my Heavenly Father did not plant will be pulled up by the roots,” returned Jesus. “Let them alone. They are blind guides, and when one blind man leads another blind man they will both end up in the ditch!”

15 “Explain this parable to us,” broke in Peter.

16 “Are you still unable to grasp things like that?” replied Jesus.

17-20 “Don’t you see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and then out of the body altogether? But the things that come out of a man’s mouth come from his heart and mind, and it is they that really make a man unclean. For it is from a man’s mind that evil thoughts arise—murder, adultery, lust, theft, perjury and blasphemy. These are the things which make a man unclean, not eating without washing his hands properly!”

A gentile’s faith in Jesus

21-22 Jesus left that place and retired into the Tyre and Sidon district. There a Canaanite woman from those parts came to him crying at the top of her voice, “Lord, have pity on me! My daughter is in a terrible state—a devil has got into her!”

23 Jesus made no answer, and the disciples came up to him and said, “Do send her away—she’s still following us and calling out.”

24 “I was only sent,” replied Jesus, “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then the woman came and knelt at his feet. “Lord, help me,” she said.

26 “It is not right, you know,” Jesus replied, “to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes, Lord, I know, but even the dogs live on the scraps that fall from their master’s table!”

28 “You certainly don’t lack faith,” returned Jesus, “it shall be as you wish.” And at that moment her daughter was cured.

Jesus heals and feeds vast crowds of people

29-31 Jesus left there, walked along the shore of the lake of Galilee, then climbed the hill and sat down. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them people who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb and many others. They simply put them down at his feet and he healed them. The result was that the people were astonished at seeing dumb men speak, crippled men healed, lame men walking about and blind men having recovered their sight. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 But Jesus quietly called his disciples to him. “My heart goes out to this crowd,” he said. “They’ve stayed with me three days now and have no more food. I don’t want to send them home without anything or they will collapse on the way.”

33 “Where could we find enough food to feed such a crowd in this deserted spot?” said the disciples.

34 “How many loaves have you?” asked Jesus. “Seven, and a few small fish,” they replied.

35-39 Then Jesus told the crowd to sit down comfortably on the ground. And when he had taken the seven loaves and the fish into his hands, he broke them with a prayer of thanksgiving and gave them to the disciples to pass on to the people. Everybody ate and was satisfied, and they picked up seven baskets full of the pieces left over. Those who ate numbered four thousand men apart from women and children. Then Jesus sent the crowds home, boarded the boat and arrived at the district of Magadan.

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.

Matthew 15 New International Version (NIV)

That Which Defiles

15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.[c]

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides.[d] If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 15:4 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
  2. Matthew 15:4 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
  3. Matthew 15:9 Isaiah 29:13
  4. Matthew 15:14 Some manuscripts blind guides of the blind
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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