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. 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 must not eat anything. Their leaders had also taught them about how they should do many different things. For example, there are rules about how they should wash cups, pots and metal bowls.)

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 then said, ‘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, “You must kill anyone who curses his father or his mother.” 11 But you teach that a person may say to his father or to his mother, “I would have given gifts to help you. But I cannot do that, because I have given them to God instead.” 12 If he says that, you let him do nothing to help his father or 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.’

7:10See Exodus 21:17

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 unclean because of things that go into their bodies from outside. They become unclean because of the things that come out from their minds. 16 [You have heard my words. So do what I say.’]

7:16This verse is not in some old copies of the Bible.

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 people unclean. Food goes into a people's bodies from outside. 19 But food does not go into people's minds. It goes into their stomachs and then it passes out of their bodies.’

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

20 Jesus then said, ‘People become unclean because of what comes out from them, not because of what goes in. 21 Bad thoughts come from people's minds. As a result they do wrong things. They might have sex in wrong ways. They might rob somebody. They might kill somebody. They might have sex with another man's wife. 22 They may want too much for themselves. They may be cruel to other people. They might tell lies. They might live like wild animals. They may want things that other people have. They may speak bad things against other people. They might think that they themselves are very important. They 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 unclean.’

Jesus travels out of Israel

24 Jesus left that place. He went away to the region around 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.

Jesus makes a man well again

31 Then Jesus went away from Tyre. He travelled through the city called Sidon. Then he went towards Lake Galilee. He was in the region 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 Jesus said this, the man started to hear. Also, his tongue was able to move properly so that he could 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.’