Life's Greatest Decision

The Gospel of Mark

Chapter 7

God's Commands are More Important

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law from Jerusalem came to Jesus together. They saw some of His followers eat their bread with "unclean" hands, which means hands not washed in the right religious way. (The Pharisees and all the other Jews do not eat until they have washed their hands in a right religious way. They do this to obey the traditions of their religious leaders. They do not eat after they come from the marketplace unless they wash themselves first, and they do many other things to obey the traditions, like washing cups and clay pots and metal pots.)

The Pharisees and the teachers of the religious law asked Jesus, "Why do your followers not obey the tradition of the religious leaders, but eat their bread with unclean hands?" He said to them, "Isaiah was right when he gave the prophecy about you hypocrites. He wrote,

"These people honor me by what they say,
but in their hearts, they are far from me.
They worship me, but it is useless.
The things they teach are only rules made by people."

You stop obeying God's commands, because you continue to obey the traditions of people." He said to them, "You reject God's commands very well, so you can obey your traditions. Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'The person who says evil things against his father or mother must be killed.' But you say that a person can say to his father or mother, 'Any help I could have given to you is Corban (a gift to God).' So you do not let that person do anything for his father or his mother, and you make God's Word have no effect because you continue your traditions. You do many things like that."

Then Jesus called the crowd of people to Him again and said, "All of you, listen to me and understand that nothing from the outside that goes into a person can make him unclean. But the things that come out from a person are what make him unclean. You should listen if you have ears to hear with."

His followers asked Him about the story after He went away from the crowd of people and went into the house. He said to them, "Do you still not understand? Don't you understand that nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean? This is because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and then it goes out from his body. (Jesus was saying that all foods are clean, when He said that.) He said, "What comes out from a person is what makes him unclean, because evil things come from the inside of people. They come out from their hearts. These evil things are evil thoughts, sexual sin, taking what does not belong to them, killing, adultery, selfish desire, doing evil things to other people, lying, sensual actions, desire to have what other people have, saying evil things about other people, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from inside the person, and make that person unclean."

Jesus got up and went away from there to places near Tyre and Sidon . He went into a house and did not want anyone to know it, but He could not hide from the people. A woman came immediately and fell down at His feet after she heard about Him, because her daughter had an evil spirit. This woman was a Greek person born in Syria Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the evil spirit out from her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children eat all they want first, because it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered Him, "Lord, yes, but even the dogs under the table eat the pieces of food the children do not eat." He said to her, "You can go now because of your answer. The evil spirit has gone out from your daughter." She went away to her house and found her daughter on the bed, and the evil spirit had gone away from her.

Then Jesus went away from the area of Tyre , and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee inside the area of Decapolis . They brought a person to Him who could not hear and could not speak well. They begged Him to put His hand on the man. Jesus took the man away from the crowd to be alone with him and put His fingers into the man's ears. Jesus spit and touched the man's tongue. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed deeply and said to him, "Ephphatha!" (That means, "Be opened.") The man's ears were opened, and his tongue could move freely, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone. But they told other people about it more and more, when He continued to order them not to tell. They were full of great wonder and said, "He does everything well. He even makes people able to hear who could not hear, and He makes people able to speak, who could not speak."

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