Breaking Human Traditions
Now the Pharisees and some of the experts in the law who came from Jerusalem gathered around him. And they saw that some of Jesus’ disciples ate their bread with unclean hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing, holding fast to the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. They hold fast to many other traditions: the washing of cups, pots, kettles, and dining couches.) The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with unwashed hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honours me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain,
teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’
Having no regard for the command of God, you hold fast to human tradition.” He also said to them, “You neatly reject the commandment of God in order to set up your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you would have received from me is corban’ (that is, a gift for God), then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.”
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand. There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.”
Now when Jesus had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Are you so foolish? Don’t you understand that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him? For it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and then goes out into the sewer.” (This means all foods are clean.) He said, “What comes out of a person defiles him. For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. All these evils come from within and defile a person.”
A Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
After Jesus left there, he went to the region of Tyre. When he went into a house, he did not want anyone to know, but he was not able to escape notice. Instead, a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him and came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, of Syrophoenician origin. She asked him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and to throw it to the dogs.” She answered, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “Because you said this, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Healing a Deaf Mute
Then Jesus went out again from the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking, and they asked him to place his hands on him. After Jesus took him aside privately, away from the crowd, he put his fingers in the man’s ears, and after spitting, he touched his tongue. Then he looked up to heaven and said with a sigh, “Ephphatha” (that is, “Be opened”). And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he spoke plainly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anything. But as much as he ordered them not to do this, they proclaimed it all the more. People were completely astounded and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”