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Mark  ◦   Chapter 7

1The theology professors from the school of the Pharisees, along with some of the church lawyers — all of whom cherished a legal theology — came from Jerusalem to monitor what Jesus was doing.2They saw some of his disciples eating with hands that had not been washed in the proscribed ritualistic way.3(The Pharisees, promoting the tradition of church elders who taught a legal religion, influenced the Jews so much that none would eat unless they first performed a ritualistic washing with an insignificant amount of water.4When they return from shopping, they won’t eat unless they perform the ritualistic hand washing. And they observe many other rituals — such as washing of cups, pots, and pans — thinking that doing so provides moral purity, but in reality, it doesn’t.)

5So these legal religion theologians asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live by the standards of church tradition and respect the church elders instead of ignoring our tradition by eating with hands that have not been ritually cleansed?"

6Jesus didn't hesitate in his reply: "Isaiah got it right when he described charlatans like you — those who pretend to partake of the Remedy but instead promote spiritual poison. Just as he wrote, 'These people proclaim their love for me with their mouths, but their hearts are as far away from love for me and my methods as they can get.7Their worship is useless, and their teachings are nothing but man-made rules.'

8 "You have thrown away God's healing prescription and are promoting a counterfeit cocktail of dos and don'ts thought up by men."

9He continued, "You have perfected the art of throwing away God's healing prescription and replacing it with your own worthless traditions!10For Moses taught God's Remedy, 'Love your father and your mother,' and 'Anyone who fails to love their father or mother will certainly die.'11But you come along with your own rules — which are the poison of selfishness — and throw out God's prescription of love when you say that if a person says to their father or mother: 'Whatever help I might otherwise give to you it is now Corban (that is, the resources are designated for the Temple),'12then you excuse their responsibility to love and provide for their parents.13This is just one example of how you make God's healing Remedy useless by replacing it with your worthless traditions handed down through the generations. You do many things just like that."

14Jesus turned to the crowd, called them to himself, and said: "Everyone, listen to me and understand what really matters:15There is nothing outside a person that by being ingested can change the person’s character, therefore it cannot make them impure. But what comes out of their mouth is an expression of their character, and that is what makes them impure.16Let those whose minds are open to truth understand."

17After they left the crowd and returned home, the disciples asked Jesus to explain what he had meant by this example.18Looking at them, Jesus asked: "Are your minds so dulled by tradition that you don't understand? Don't you realize that nothing that enters the body from the outside can contaminate or defile?19Why not? Because it doesn't enter the mind — it doesn't become part of the character — but simply goes into the stomach and then out of the body." (Jesus was making it clear that no food could make a person morally impure.)

20He explained further: "What comes out of the mouth is an expression of what is in the heart — an expression of the character — and evil in the character is what makes a person impure.21For evil originates from the infection of selfishness in the heart, such as evil thoughts, sexual perversity, murder, dishonesty, theft, betrayal of trust,22greed, cruelty, deception, vulgarity, envy, evil-speaking, gossip, pride, and foolishness.23All these destructive deviations from God's design come from inside and are what makes a person impure."

24Jesus moved on to the region of Tyre. When he arrived, he went into a house, hoping to remain unnoticed, but he couldn't keep his presence a secret.25No sooner did he arrive than a woman came and fell at his feet. She had a little daughter whose mind was not working as God designed.26The woman was not Jewish but Canaanite, born in Syria, near Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to heal her daughter — to remove any defect or evil from her.

27Jesus gently said, "The children must first eat their fill. It isn't appropriate to take the bread baked for the children and throw it to their pets."

28Instantly the woman replied, "So true Lord, but even the pets are fed the scraps left over from the children's meal."

29Jesus smiled and said, "Your answer is true. Go home; the evil afflicting your daughter is gone."

30She returned home and found her child resting in bed, with her mind at peace.

31After healing the Canaanite woman's daughter, Jesus left Tyre, walked through Sidon, down by the Sea of Galilee and into the district of Decapolis.32When he arrived, some people brought to him a deaf man who could only mumble, and they begged Jesus to put his hands on the man.

33Jesus took the man aside, and meeting the man's expectation for healing, put his fingers in the man's ears. Then he spat on his finger and touched the man's tongue.34He looked heavenward, groaning at how far from God's design this man was, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means "Be opened!").35Immediately the man could hear and speak, and began talking normally.

36Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone, but the more he told them to be discrete, the more they kept talking about it.37The people were thrilled with joy and amazed with all he did. They said, "Everything he does, he does perfectly. He even gives hearing to the deaf and enables the mute to speak."