A Gentile mother’s faith.

Jesus traveled to the area of Tyre and Sidon. A woman who wasn’t Jewish approached him and kept crying out to him “Have mercy on me Lord, son of David! My daughter is tormented by an unclean spirit.” Jesus didn’t reply to her, but his disciples approached him and asked him to make her go away because she kept following them and yelling for help. Jesus said “I am called to help only the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and knelt before him begging him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said “Let the children have their fill first, because it isn’t right to take their bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she replied “Yes, but even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs that fall.” Jesus answered “Your faith is great, woman. Because of how you answered you will receive what you have asked for.”

Her daughter was free of the demon that very hour.

MT 15:21-28, MK 7:24-30

Defilement is from within.

Jesus gathered the crowd around him and asked them to listen carefully to what he was about to say. “It isn’t what you put into your mouth that makes you defiled. Instead it’s what comes out of your mouth that gets you into trouble.”

Then he went into the house and away from the crowd. The disciples asked him if he knew that the Pharisees were offended by his remarks. Jesus answered “Every plant not planted by my Father will be uprooted, so don’t worry about them. They are blind leaders, and they are guiding blind people. Both they and who follow them will fall into a pit.”

Then Peter and the other disciples asked him to explain the parable to them. He said “Do you also not understand? Don’t you yet understand that nothing a man puts into himself can make him unclean? It doesn’t go into his heart. Instead it goes into his stomach and then passes out of him. But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart and that makes him unclean. Deep within people’s hearts come evil thoughts, inappropriate sexual practices, murders, theft, pride, deceit, lying and blasphemy. All these things cause defilement, but eating without ceremonially washing your hands doesn’t harm you at all.”

MT 15:10-20, MK 7:14-23

Handwashing. (The tradition of the elders)

Some Pharisees and other Jewish leaders traveled from Jerusalem to question Jesus. They asked “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders? They don’t practice the ritual of ceremonially washing their hands before they eat.”

Jesus asked them “Why do you follow your tradition and break God’s commandments? You have made God’s commandments invalid so that you could preserve your tradition. For example, Moses said “Honor your father and mother,” and “Whoever speaks against his parents must be put to death”. But instead you say that people should give their gifts to the Temple instead of helping out their needy parents. You make it impossible for people to do anything for their parents. You have done away with God’s word by your man-made traditions. And you do many other things like this.”

“The prophet Isaiah spoke correctly about you hypocrites when he said ‘These people draw near to Me with what they say, but their hearts are far from Me. In vain they worship Me because they teach the rules of men as if they are My commandments.’”

MT 15:1-9, MK 7:1-13