Mark 7:1-14

That which defiles

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the market-place they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.7:4 Some early manuscripts pitchers, kettles and dining couches)

So 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?’

He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

‘ “These people honour me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain;

their teachings are merely human rules.”7:7 Isaiah 29:13

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’

And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe7:9 Some manuscripts set up your own traditions! For Moses said, “Honour your father and mother,”7:10 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16 and, “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.”7:10 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9 But 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) – then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.’

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.

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