Mark 7:1-37 NIV
That Which Defiles
1The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2and saw some of His disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When 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.a )
5So 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 defiled hands?”
6He 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.
7They worship Me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’b
8You have let go of the Commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9And He continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the Commands of God in order to observec your own traditions! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’d and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’e 11But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14Again Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen to Me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” f
17After He had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples asked Him about this parable. 18“Are you so dull?” He asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?19For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20He went on:
“What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.g He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet He could not keep His presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about Him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at His feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27“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 the dogs.”
28“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29Then He told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.h 32There some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on Him.
33After 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. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!”(which means “Be opened!”). 35At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more He did so, the more they kept talking about it.37People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
7:1-13 One great design of Christ's Coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, He rejects the ceremonies men added to the Law of God. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on His disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age.
Jesus reproves them for rejecting the Commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.
7:14-23 Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt thoughts, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the Law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the Grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.
7:24-30 Christ never put anyone from Him who fell at His feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, “Let the children first be filled” shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the Blessed Savior, He manifests His compassion to poor humbled sinners who look to Him for children's bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.
7:31-37 Here is a cure of one who was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought Him to put forth His Power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christ's Power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs who brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who came to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought.