Matthew 15 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
God’s Law and Human Traditions
15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus. They came from Jerusalem and asked him, 2 “Why do your followers not obey the traditions we have from our great leaders who lived long ago? Your followers don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus answered, “And why do you refuse to obey God’s command so that you can follow those traditions you have? 4 God said, ‘You must respect your father and mother.’[a] And God also said, ‘Whoever says anything bad to their father or mother must be killed.’[b] 5 But you teach that a person can say to their father or mother, ‘I have something I could use to help you. But I will not use it for you. I will give it to God.’ 6 You are teaching them not to respect their father. So you are teaching that it is not important to do what God said. You think it is more important to follow those traditions you have. 7 You are hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he spoke for God about you:
8 ‘These people honor me with their words,
10 Jesus called the people to him. He said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. 11 It is not what people put in their mouth that makes them wrong.[c] It is what comes out of their mouth that makes them wrong.”
12 Then the followers came to Jesus and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees are upset about what you said?”
13 Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Stay away from the Pharisees. They lead the people, but they are like blind men leading other blind men. And if a blind man leads another blind man, both of them will fall into a ditch.”
15 Peter said, “Explain to us what you said earlier to the people.”
16 Jesus said, “Do you still have trouble understanding? 17 Surely you know that all the food that enters the mouth goes into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body. 18 But the bad things people say with their mouth come from the way they think. And that’s what can make people wrong. 19 All these bad things begin in the mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and insulting people. 20 These are the things that make people wrong. Eating without washing their hands will never make people unacceptable to God.”
Jesus Helps a Non-Jewish Woman
21 Jesus went from there to the area of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that area came out and began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, please help me! My daughter has a demon inside her, and she is suffering very much.”
23 But Jesus did not answer her. So the followers came to him and said, “Tell her to go away. She keeps crying out and will not leave us alone.”
24 Jesus answered, “God sent me only to the lost people[d] of Israel.”
25 Then the woman came over to Jesus and bowed before him. She said, “Lord, help me!”
26 He answered her with this saying: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.”
27 The woman said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the pieces of food that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! You will get what you asked for.” And right then the woman’s daughter was healed.
Jesus Heals Many People
29 Then Jesus went from there to the shore of Lake Galilee. He went up on a hill and sat down.
30 A large crowd of people came to him. They brought many other sick people and put them before him. There were people who could not walk, people who were blind, crippled, or deaf, and many others. Jesus healed them all. 31 People were amazed when they saw that those who could not speak were now able to speak. Crippled people were made strong. Those who could not walk were now able to walk. The blind were able to see. Everyone thanked the God of Israel for this.
Jesus Feeds More Than 4000
32 Jesus called his followers to him and said, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been with me three days, and now they have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry. They might faint while going home.”
33 The followers asked Jesus, “Where can we get enough bread to feed all these people? We are a long way from any town.”
34 Jesus asked, “How many loaves of bread do you have?”
They answered, “We have seven loaves of bread and a few small fish.”
35 Jesus told the people to sit on the ground. 36 He took the seven loaves of bread and the fish. Then he gave thanks to God for the food. He broke the bread into pieces, which he gave to the followers, and they gave the food to the people. 37 All the people ate until they were full. After this, the followers filled seven baskets with the pieces of food that were not eaten. 38 There were about 4000 men there who ate. There were also some women and children. 39 After they all ate, Jesus told the people they could go home. He got into the boat and went to the area of Magadan.