61 Traditions of men don’t make people right with God.

Exodus 20:12; 21:17; Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 14:34–36; 15:1–20; Mark 6:53–56; 7:1–23

The people in the region near Gennesaret had previously rejected Jesus (Matthew 8:28–34). Why were they now accepting him (Matthew 14:34–35)?

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Why were some healed when they did no more than touch Jesus’ robe (Matthew 14:36)?

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Why do you think Teachers had come from distant Jerusalem to see Jesus (Matthew 15:1–2)?

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Why didn’t the disciples wash their hands before eating (Matthew 15:1–2)?

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What was wrong with the Pharisees’ religious traditions (Matthew 15:3–4)?

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In what ways can people manipulate rules to suit their desires (Matthew 15:5–6)? When is this a problem? When is it not a problem?

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How do we recognize hypocrisy in others (Matthew 15:7–9)? In ourselves?

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Which is more difficult, to express love in words or in actions (Matthew 15:7–9)? Why?

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What is the difference between what we eat and what we speak (Matthew 15:10–11)?

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How does “listening” compare to “hearing” (Mark 7:16)?

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What made Jesus’ words offensive to the Pharisees (Matthew 15:12)?

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If God is unwilling for anyone to perish, why would Jesus say to let the blind Pharisees lead others astray (Matthew 15:13–14)?

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Why did Peter ask for an explanation of Jesus’ analogy (Matthew 15:15)?

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How much concern should we have for what we eat, physically and spiritually (Matthew 15:16–20)? Which is more important?

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Many different factors can influence our desires. When we say, “I didn’t want to do that,” but we did it, our desire is something other than what we want it to be. How can the determining factor in that choice be identified and changed?

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After crossing the lake, Jesus and the disciples came to shore near Gennesaret. As soon as they stepped out of the boat, people recognized him. News of his arrival spread throughout the region. People carried the sick on pallets to wherever he stayed.

Eyewitness

Matthew 14:34–35 After crossing the lake, Jesus and the disciples came to shore near Gennesaret. People recognized him and news of his arrival spread throughout the region, so all the sick were brought to him.
Mark 6:53–55 After crossing the lake, Jesus and the disciples came to shore near Gennesaret. As soon as they stepped out of the boat, people recognized him. News of his arrival spread throughout the region. People carried the sick on pallets to wherever he stayed.
King James

Matthew 14:34–35 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
Mark 6:53–55 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

Whenever Jesus entered a town or small community, he passed the sick in the roadway. Some of them begged to touch the fringe of his robe. Those who touched his robe were healed.

Eyewitness

Matthew 14:36 Some of them begged to touch the fringe of his robe. Those who touched his robe were healed.
Mark 6:56 Whenever Jesus entered a town or small community, he passed the sick in the roadway. Some of them begged to touch the fringe of his robe. Those who touched his robe were healed.
King James

Matthew 14:36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
Mark 6:56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem saw some of Jesus’ disciples eat bread without washing their hands. Devout Jews, especially the Pharisees, always washed their hands before eating, a long-standing rule since ancient times. After buying food at the market, they would not put the food to their mouths until they had properly washed. They also followed other traditions, such as washing cups, pots, and pitchers brought to the table. So they said to Jesus, “Why do your disciples violate the rules of behavior that were established by our ancestors? When they eat bread, they do not wash their hands.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:1–2 Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem said to Jesus, “Why do your disciples violate the rules of behavior that were established by our ancestors? When they eat bread, they do not wash their hands.”
Mark 6:56 Whenever Jesus entered a town or small community, he passed the sick in the roadway. Some of them begged to touch the fringe of his robe. Those who touched his robe were healed.
Mark 7:1–5 Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem saw some of Jesus’ disciples eat bread without washing their hands. Devout Jews, especially the Pharisees, always washed their hands before eating, a long-standing rule since ancient times. After buying food at the market, they would not put the food to their mouths until they had properly washed. They also followed other traditions, such as washing cups, pots, and pitchers brought to the table. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law said to Jesus, “Why do your disciples violate the rules of behavior that were established by our ancestors? When they eat bread, they do not wash their hands.”
King James

Matthew 15:1–2 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Mark 6:56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Mark 7:1–5 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

Jesus said, “Why do you violate God’s commandments by following your own tradition? You ignore God’s commandments by following your own tradition. How beautifully you nullify God’s commandments so you can have your own way. God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.’

Eyewitness

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and mother so you may live long in the land the Lord God is giving to you.
Exodus 21:17 Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.
Matthew 15:3–4 Jesus said, “Why do you violate God’s commandments by following your own tradition? God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.’
Mark 7:8–10 “You ignore God’s commandments by following your own tradition. How beautifully you nullify God’s commandments so you can have your own way. Moses wrote, Honor your father and mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.
King James

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Matthew 15:3–4 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Mark 7:8–10 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

“By your rules, it is all right for a man to say to his parents, ‘I have dedicated all my possessions to God. What I might have given to you is no longer mine to give.’ In this manner, you excuse the man from helping his father or mother. With your tradition, you nullify God’s commandment. And you do many other, similar things.

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:5–6 “By your rules, it is all right for a man to say to his parents, ‘I have dedicated all my possessions to God. I am sorry, but the Law will not allow me to help with your need.’ With your tradition, you nullify God’s commandment.
Mark 7:11–13 “By your rules, it is all right for a man to say to his parents, ‘I have dedicated all my possessions to God. What I might have given to you is no longer mine to give.’ In this manner, you excuse the man from helping his father or mother. With your tradition, you nullify God’s commandment. And you do many other, similar things.”
King James

Matthew 15:5–6 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mark 7:11–13 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

“Hypocrites! You only pretend to be righteous. You fulfill what Isaiah said about you: These people offer praise with their lips, but their hearts are somewhere else. Their reverence for me is nothing but a ritual.

Eyewitness

Isaiah 29:13 God says, “These people express love with their mouths and their lips offer praise, but their hearts are somewhere else. Their reverence for me is nothing but a ritual.”
Matthew 15:7–8 “Hypocrites! You only pretend to be righteous. You fulfill what Isaiah said about you: These people express love with their mouths and their lips offer praise, but their hearts are somewhere else.
Mark 7:6–7 “Hypocrites! You fulfill what Isaiah said about you: These people offer praise with their lips, but their hearts are somewhere else. Their reverence for me is nothing but a ritual.
King James

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Matthew 15:7–8 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mark 7:6–7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus called the people closer. “Listen, and understand what I am saying. You are not defiled by what goes into your mouth. It is what comes out that makes you unclean. If you have ears, pay attention to what I am saying.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:10–11 Jesus called the people closer. “Listen, and understand what I am saying. You are not defiled by what goes into your mouth. It is what comes out that makes you unclean.”
Mark 7:14–16 Jesus called the people closer. “Listen, and understand what I am saying. You are not defiled by what goes into your mouth. It is what comes out that makes you unclean. If you have ears, pay attention to what I am saying.”
King James

Matthew 15:10–11 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Mark 7:14–16 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Later, his disciples said to him, “Did you know you offended the Pharisees with your words?”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:12 Later, his disciples said to him, “Did you know you offended the Pharisees with your words?”
King James

Matthew 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

“Every plant that was not planted by my heavenly Father will be pulled up with its roots,” Jesus said. “Let them go their own way. They are blind leaders of the blind. When blind people follow blind leaders, they both fall into the ditch.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:13–14 “Every plant that was not planted by my heavenly Father will be pulled up with its roots,” Jesus said. “Let them go their own way. They are blind leaders of the blind. When blind people follow blind leaders, they both fall into the ditch.”
King James

Matthew 15:13–14 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Simon Peter said, “How is it that people are not defiled by what they eat? Explain your analogy to us.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:15 Simon Peter said, “How is it that people are not defiled by what they eat? Explain your analogy to us.”
Mark 7:1 Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem
King James

Matthew 15:15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

“You still do not understand? You should know that anything going into a man from the outside cannot make him unclean. What you eat simply passes through the stomach and out. But what comes out of a person is from the heart, revealing the filth that exists inside. From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, erotic sexual acts, theft, greed, cruelty, lies, lewdness, lust, cursing, pride, and foolishness. All such things come from within and make a person unclean. It is not from eating without washing your hands.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 15:16–20 “You still do not understand? You should know that anything you eat simply passes through the stomach and out. But what comes out of a person’s mouth is from the heart, revealing the filth that exists inside. From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, erotic sexual acts, theft, lies, and cursing. These things make a person unclean. It is not from eating without washing your hands.”
Mark 7:18–23 “You still do not understand? You should know that anything going into a man from the outside cannot make him unclean. What you eat does not enter the heart but simply passes through the stomach and out. But what comes out of a person is from the heart, revealing the filth that exists inside. From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, erotic sexual acts, theft, greed, cruelty, lies, lewdness, lust, cursing, pride, and foolishness. All such things come from within and make a person unclean.”
King James

Matthew 15:16–20 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Mark 7:18–23 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.