Matthew 15

Jesus tells the Pharisees and teachers of God's Law to obey God

1 After that, a group of Pharisees and teachers of God's Law came from Jerusalem to talk to Jesus. 2 They said, ‘Our leaders in past times taught us the right way to do everything. But your disciples do not obey the things that our leaders taught us. They do not wash their hands in the right way before they eat a meal. Why is that?’

3 Jesus replied, ‘God tells us the right way to obey him. But you refuse. Instead, you like to keep your own ideas. 4 God's Law says: “You must love your father and mother and obey them.” God also said, “A person should die if he says bad things against his father or against his mother.” 5 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. Instead, I have given them to God.” 6 Then, you let that person give nothing to his parents. He does not have to help them. This shows that you have not obeyed what God says is right. Instead, you have obeyed your own ideas. 7 You are hypocrites! What God's prophet Isaiah wrote about you long ago is true:

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

but they do not really want to obey me.

9 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.”’

Jesus talks about the wrong things that people do

10 Jesus asked the crowd of people to come to him. He said to them, ‘Listen to me, so that you can understand my message. 11 It is not food that goes into a person's mouth that makes them dirty. Instead, what comes out of a person's mouth is important. This may show that what is inside them is dirty.’

12 Then Jesus' disciples went to him, and they said, ‘The Pharisees heard what you said. They did not agree with what you said. Do you know that?’

13 Jesus replied, ‘Those Pharisees are like plants that my Father God did not put in the ground. Like a farmer, he will completely pull all those plants out of the ground. 14 Do not listen to what the Pharisees say. They are blind, but they try to show people which way to go. A blind person cannot lead another blind person. If he does, then both of them will fall into a deep hole.’

15 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Explain to us what you mean.’

16 Jesus replied, ‘I am surprised that you still do not understand what I am saying. 17 You should understand that food first goes into a person's mouth. Then it goes into their stomach, and then it passes out of their body. 18 The words that a person speaks come from their thoughts. It is what comes out of a person's mouth that makes them dirty. 19 Bad thoughts come from a person's mind. As a result, they do wrong things. They might decide to kill somebody. They might have sex with another man's wife or in other wrong ways. They might rob somebody. They might tell lies about other people. Or they might say bad things against them.

15:19God says that these things are wrong. If a person does them, then God cannot accept him. When he asks God to make his thoughts and life clean, then, because of Jesus, God will accept him.

20 It is these bad things that make people dirty in front of God. But if people eat food when they have not washed their hands in the right way, that will not make them dirty.’

Jesus makes a girl well again

21 Then, Jesus left that place. He went away to some places near to the cities called Tyre and Sidon.

22 A woman was living in this part of the country. She was one of the Canaanite people. She came to see Jesus. She was shouting with a loud voice, ‘Son of David, help me, sir! A bad spirit is living inside my daughter. It is giving her much pain.’

23 Jesus did not say anything to the woman. So his disciples came to him. They said, ‘Please, send this woman away. She is following us and she is making a lot of noise.’

24 Jesus replied to his disciples, ‘God has sent me to help only the people of Israel. They are like sheep that have lost their way.’

15:24The people of Israel were like lost sheep because they no longer obeyed God. God had sent Jesus to tell them the good news about him ruling his people.

25 Then the woman came to Jesus and she went down on her knees in front of him. ‘Sir, please help me,’ she said.

26 Jesus did answer the woman this time. He said, ‘It is not right to take food from the children and then throw it to the dogs.’

27 The woman replied to Jesus. ‘Yes sir, that is true. But even the dogs eat the small pieces of food that fall from their master's table.’

28 Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you show clearly that you believe in God. God will do what you have asked.’

At that moment the woman's daughter became well again.

29 Jesus travelled on from that place and he walked along the shore of Lake Galilee. He climbed up a hill and he sat down there. 30 Large crowds of people came to him and they brought sick people with them. Some of these sick people could not walk very well, and some of them were blind. Some of them could not use their arms or their legs. Some of them could not speak. There were many other sick people who had different illnesses. Their friends put the sick people in front of Jesus. And Jesus caused them all to become well again. 31 When the large crowd saw all this, they were very surprised. People who could not speak could now speak again. People who could not use their arms or their legs were now well again. Those people who could not walk very well could now walk again. Blind people could now see again. All the people praised God, and they said, ‘God of Israel, you are great.’

Jesus feeds 4,000 men and their families

32 Then Jesus told his disciples to come to him. ‘I feel sorry for this crowd,’ he said to them. ‘They have been here with me now for three days and they do not have any food. I do not want to send them away while they are hungry. They might fall down during their journey because they are weak.’

33 The disciples said to Jesus, ‘This place is a long way from any houses. We cannot get enough bread here to feed so many people.’

34 Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves of bread do you have?’

‘We have seven loaves and a few small fish,’ they replied.

35 Jesus told the crowd that they should sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish in his hands and he thanked God for them. Then he broke the bread and the fish into pieces and he gave the food to his disciples. The disciples gave the food to the people. 37 All the people ate and they all had enough food. After the people had eaten, there were still lots of small pieces of food. Jesus' disciples filled seven baskets with these pieces. 38 There were 4,000 men who ate the bread and fish. There were also women and children who ate. 39 Then Jesus sent the crowd of people away. After that, he got into the boat and sailed to the part of the country near Magadan.

15:39Magadan is also called Magdala. This was the home of Mary from Magdala.