Matthew 15 | Mark 7
That Which Defiles
15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 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.
That Which Defiles
7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a])
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’[b 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’' and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God) 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”  17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.[h] 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Read through the Bible in 2023
This year we will "Read Through the Bible" from the Old Testament and New Testament each day and take them in the order we have in our Bibles. Average reading time is 15 minutes per day.
A NOTE FROM MICHELE
Reading the Scriptures is as old as the Scriptures themselves (obviously, right?). They impart words of life. They show us the path to salvation. They teach us how to receive forgiveness of sins and point us to eternal life. They draw us ever closer to a loving God. They grow us in the grace and knowledge of His Son. In short, they change us!
Ten Reasons to Read Every Day
So, I have ten reasons that I believe make Bible reading, Bible understanding, Bible memory essential to the Christian life. Resist feelings of self-sufficiency that say, “I don’t need the Scripture every day.” Here are my ten reasons.
1. Scripture saves.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16
“God saves us daily by Scripture.” Salvation has happened to God’s people, salvation is — at this moment — happening to God’s people, and salvation will happen completely at the resurrection of God’s people, and it is happening now by means. Paul says to hold fast to the teaching and thereby save yourself. God saves us daily by Scripture.
2. Scripture frees from Satan.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
And the context is that Jesus is showing the Jewish leaders that, though they think they are not slaves, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). Satan is your enemy, young Christian. He is a thousand times stronger than you are. So, John writes to the young believers,
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14
This is our only hope for defeating a supernatural enemy. Every time Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13), he struck back with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and he had it memorized, so he didn’t have to carry a book in the wilderness.
3. Scripture imparts grace and peace.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
Knowledge of God gained through Scripture is not identical with grace, but Peter says it is a means of grace. If we want to be made peaceful and powerful through divine grace, Peter says, it happens “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” That knowledge is found in one place: Scripture.
4. Scripture sanctifies.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
“We’re all assigned in some measure to handle the word of God.” Sanctification is the process of becoming holy — that is, becoming more like Christ and like God, who is perfectly holy. This is not optional. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive . . . for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
We don’t become perfect in this life, but we do become holy. God sanctifies his people. And Jesus prays to his Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” It couldn’t be more plain, or more important.
5. Scripture gives joy.
You received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:6
His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
Life without joy is unbearable. The Christian life is a life of many afflictions. But in them all, God sustains joy, and he does it by the Scriptures.
6. Scripture protects us from destructive error.
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God . . . so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:13–14
How do young Christians stop being leaves blown around by cultural and theological winds and opinions? Answer: “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” — knowledge that they experience not as the opinion of man, but as the word of God. That’s found in one place: the Scriptures.
7. Scripture is the hope of heaven.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
The knowledge of God — all the fullness that a created being can properly comprehend and enjoy — will not be withheld from us indefinitely. The frustrations of our present limitations of understanding and enjoyment will be removed. How fitting it is, then, that we be ever growing now in what will be our final joy in the age to come.
8. Scripture will be resisted by some.
The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 2 Timothy 4:3
In other words, we need to know the Scriptures so that we’re not taken off guard or knocked off balance or led away by false teachers. We need to receive the Scriptures regularly to be ready to meet those who refuse to receive the Scriptures.
9. The right handling of Scripture is approved by God.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
It is a precious thing to be assigned to do a very important task, and then to find the master worker approving of what he’s asked you to do. We’re all assigned in some measure to handle the word of God. And what a wonderful opportunity to be pleasing to the Lord.
10. Scripture gives and sustains life.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Spiritual life — eternal life — just like physical life, must be fed, not by bread, but by the word of God.