The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed.
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. )
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with `unclean' hands?"
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "`These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother,' and, `Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'
But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God),
then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.
Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.
Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.' "
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean'?
For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")
He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.'
For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'"
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."
She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.
There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue.
He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, <"Ephphatha!"> (which means, "Be opened!").
At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it.
People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said,
"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.
If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance."
His disciples answered, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?"
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied.
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so.
They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.
The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away,
he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.
He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."
Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.
"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?
When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied.
"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven."
He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village. "
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ. "
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Christian Magazine Deals
Guideposts $20.13 for 24 issueswith coupon "MPSSAVE16"