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Mark 7

Jesus speaks to Pharisees and to some teachers of God's Law

1 A group of Pharisees and some teachers of God's Law came from Jerusalem to talk with Jesus. 2 They had been watching Jesus' disciples. Some of the disciples did not wash their hands before they ate a meal with dirty hands. That is to say, they did not wash them in the right way. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat food until they have washed their hands carefully. They do this because of what their leaders taught in past times. 4 When they come from the market place, they must always wash carefully. Unless they do this, they cannot eat. Their leaders had also taught them about how they should do lots of things. For example, there are rules about how they should wash cups, pots and metal bowls.)

7:4The Pharisees washed their hands in a certain way before their meals. The disciples had clean hands already. So they did not think that they needed to wash again.

5 The Pharisees and the teachers of God's Law said to Jesus, ‘Your disciples do not obey the things that our leaders taught many years ago. Your disciples have not washed their hands in the right way. They are eating their food with dirty hands. That is not right.’

6 Jesus said to them, ‘You are hypocrites! What God's prophet Isaiah wrote about you long ago is true:

God says, “These people say good things about me,

but they do not really want to obey me.

7 They say that I am great.

But what they say has no purpose.

They teach their own rules, which I did not give to them.” ’

8 Jesus went on to say, ‘You have stopped obeying God. Instead you obey the ideas that men teach.’

9 He said to them, ‘You are very careful to refuse God's rules, because then you can keep your own ideas! 10 For example, Moses wrote, “You must love your father and your mother and obey them.” He also said, “A person should die if he says bad things against his father or against his mother.” 11 But you teach that a person may say to his father or to his mother, “I would have given these gifts to you. But I cannot because I have given them to God instead.” 12 Then, you let him do nothing for his father or for his mother. 13 This shows that you have not obeyed what God says is right. Instead, you have obeyed the ideas that you received from your leaders many years ago. And you do many other things like that.’

14 Jesus asked the crowd of people to come to him again. He said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, so that you can understand these things. 15 People do not become dirty because of things that go into their bodies from outside. They become dirty because of the things that come out from their minds. [ 16 You have heard my words. So do what I say.’]

Jesus explains to his disciples what he had taught

17 Jesus left the crowd of people and he went into a house. Then his disciples asked him to explain what he had taught.

18 Jesus said, ‘I am surprised that you too do not understand what I am saying. You should understand that food will not make a person dirty. Food goes into a person's body from outside. 19 But food does not go into the mind of a person. It goes into their stomach and then it passes out of their body.’

When Jesus said this, he was teaching that all foods are clean.

20 Jesus went on to say, ‘People become dirty because of what comes out from them, not because of what goes in. 21 So, bad thoughts come from a person's mind, and as a result he does wrong things. He might have sex in wrong ways. He might rob somebody. He might kill somebody. He might have sex with another man's wife. 22 He may want too much for himself. He may be cruel to other people. He might tell lies. He may live like a wild animal. He may want things that other people have. He may speak bad things against other people. He might think that he himself is very important. He might think in ways that are very silly.

23 All these wrong things begin inside people's minds and then come out. That is what makes them dirty in front of God.’

Jesus travels out of Israel

24 Then, Jesus left that place. He went away to a place near the city called Tyre. He went into a house. He did not want anyone to know that he was there. But it was not possible to keep this a secret. 25 Immediately, a certain woman heard that he was there. This woman had a daughter who had a bad spirit in her. The woman came to Jesus and she went down on her knees by his feet. 26 She was not a Jew. Her family was from Phoenicia in the country of Syria. She asked Jesus to make the bad spirit go out of her daughter.

27 Jesus said to the woman, ‘First, the children must eat all that they want. It is not right to take food from the children and then throw it to the dogs.’

28 The woman replied, ‘Yes, sir. That is true. But small pieces of food drop while the children eat. And the dogs under the table eat those pieces.’

29 ‘That is a good answer,’ Jesus replied. ‘Now the bad spirit has left your daughter. You may go.’

30 The woman went to her home. She saw her child, who was lying on the bed. The bad spirit had left the girl.

31 Then Jesus went away from Tyre. He travelled through the city called Sidon, and went towards Lake Galilee. He was near the towns called ‘The 10 cities’.

32 Some people brought a man to Jesus. This man could not hear anything and he could not speak clearly. The people asked Jesus to put his hand on the man.

33 Jesus led the man away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spat on his hands and touched the man's tongue. 34 Jesus looked up towards heaven. He cried with a low, sad sound. Then he said to the man, ‘Ephphatha!’ That means, ‘Become open!’ 35 When he said this, the man started to hear. Also, his tongue was able to move. The man began to speak clearly.

36 Jesus told the people that they must not tell anyone about this. But every time Jesus asked them not to say anything, they spoke even more about it. 37 The people were very surprised about everything that Jesus did. They said, ‘Jesus has done everything well. If people cannot hear, Jesus makes them able to hear. If people cannot speak, Jesus makes them able to speak.’