The Teaching of the Ancestors
About this time some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem. They asked Jesus,
“Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? They don't even wash their hands
w 15.2 wash their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
before they eat.”
3 Jesus answered:
Why do you disobey God and follow your own teaching?
Didn't God command you to respect your father and mother? Didn't he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents?
But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they have has been offered to God.
x 15.5 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when people said something was offered to God, it belonged to him and could not be used for anyone else, not even for their own parents.
Is this any way to show respect to your parents? You ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching.
And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said,
“All of you praise me
with your words,
but you never really
think about me.
9 It is useless for you
to worship me,
when you teach rules
made up by humans.”
What Really Makes People Unclean
10 Jesus called the crowd together and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean.
11 The food that you put into your mouth doesn't make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”
12 Then his disciples came over to him and asked, “Do you know that you insulted the Pharisees by what you said?”
Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up by the roots.
Stay away from those Pharisees! They are like blind people leading other blind people, and all of them will fall into a ditch.”
15 Peter replied, “What did you mean when you talked about the things that make people unclean?”
16 Jesus then said:
Don't any of you know what I am talking about by now?
Don't you know that the food you put into your mouth goes into your stomach and then out of your body?
But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God.
Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others.
These are what make you unclean. Eating without washing your hands will not make you unfit to worship God.