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Jesus Challenges the Pharisees’ Traditions(A)

15 Then some Pharisees and experts in Moses’ Teachings came from Jerusalem to Jesus. They asked, “Why do your disciples break the traditions of our ancestors? They do not wash their hands before they eat.”

He answered them, “Why do you break the commandment of God because of your traditions? For example, God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that whoever tells his father or mother, ‘I have given to God whatever support you might have received from me,’ does not have to honor his father. Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is pointless,
    because their teachings are rules made by humans.’”

10 Then he called the crowd and said to them, “Listen and try to understand! 11 What goes into a person’s mouth doesn’t make him unclean.[a] It’s what comes out of the mouth that makes a person unclean.”

12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you realize that when the Pharisees heard your statement they were offended?”

13 He answered, “Any plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. 14 Leave them alone! They are blind leaders. When one blind person leads another, both will fall into the same pit.”

15 Peter said to him, “Explain this illustration to us.”

16 Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? 17 Don’t you know that whatever goes into the mouth goes into the stomach and then into a toilet? 18 But whatever goes out of the mouth comes from within, and that’s what makes a person unclean. 19 Evil thoughts, murder, adultery, other sexual sins, stealing, lying, and cursing come from within. 20 These are the things that make a person unclean. But eating without washing one’s hands doesn’t make a person unclean.”

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 15:11 “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.

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