Matthew 15
Contemporary English Version

The Teaching of the Ancestors

(Mark 7.1-13)

1About this time some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem. They asked Jesus, 2“Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? They don't even wash their hands+ before they eat.”

3Jesus answered:

Why do you disobey God and follow your own teaching? 4 Didn't God command you to respect your father and mother? Didn't he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? 5But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they have has been offered to God.+ 6Is this any way to show respect to your parents? You ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. 7And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said,

8 “All of you praise me

with your words,

but you never really

think about me.

9It is useless for you

to worship me,

when you teach rules

made up by humans.”

What Really Makes People Unclean

(Mark 7.14-23)

10Jesus called the crowd together and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 11The food you put into your mouth doesn't make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”

12Then his disciples came over to him and asked, “Do you know you insulted the Pharisees by what you said?”

13Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Stay away from those Pharisees! They are like blind people leading other blind people, and all of them will fall into a ditch.”

15Peter replied, “What did you mean when you talked about the things that make people unclean?”

16Jesus then said:

Don't any of you know by now what I am talking about? 17Don't you know that the food you put into your mouth goes into your stomach and then out of your body? 18 But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. 19Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. 20These are what make you unclean. Eating without washing your hands will not make you unfit to worship God.

A Woman's Faith

(Mark 7.24-30)

21Jesus left and went to the territory near the towns of Tyre and Sidon. 22Suddenly a Canaanite woman+ from there came out shouting, “Lord and Son of David,+ have pity on me! My daughter is full of demons.” 23Jesus did not say a word. But the woman kept following along and shouting, so his disciples came up and asked him to send her away.

24Jesus said, “I was sent only to the people of Israel! They are like a flock of lost sheep.”

25The woman came closer. Then she knelt down and begged, “Please help me, Lord!”

26Jesus replied, “It isn't right to take food away from children and feed it to dogs.”+

27“Lord, this is true,” the woman said, “but even puppies get the crumbs that fall from their owner's table.”

28Jesus answered, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith, and you will be given what you want.” At that moment her daughter was healed.

Jesus Heals Many People

29From there, Jesus went along Lake Galilee. Then he climbed a hill and sat down. 30Large crowds came and brought many people who were paralyzed or blind or lame or unable to talk. They placed them, and many others, in front of Jesus, and he healed them all. 31Everyone was amazed at what they saw and heard. People who had never spoken could now speak. The lame were healed, the paralyzed could walk, and the blind were able to see. Everyone was praising the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

(Mark 8.1-10)

32Jesus called his disciples together and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been with me for three days, and they don't have anything to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry. They might faint on their way home.”

33His disciples said, “This place is like a desert. Where can we find enough food to feed such a crowd?”

34Jesus asked them how much food they had. They replied, “Seven small loaves of bread+ and a few little fish.”

35After Jesus had told the people to sit down, 36he took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks. He then broke them and handed them to his disciples, who passed them around to the crowds.

37Everyone ate all they wanted, and the leftovers filled seven large baskets.

38There were 4,000 men who ate, not counting the women and children.

39After Jesus had sent the crowds away, he got into a boat and sailed across the lake. He came to shore near the town of Magadan.+


15.2 wash their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
15.5 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when people said something was offered to God, it belonged to him and could not be used for anyone else, not even for their own parents.
15.22 Canaanite woman: This woman was not Jewish.
15.22 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
15.26 feed it to dogs: Some Jewish people referred to Gentiles as dogs.
15.34 small loaves of bread: See the note at 14.17.
15.39 Magadan: The location is unknown.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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