Traditions and Commandments
The Pharisees criticize Jesus' disciples for not washing their hands before eating. (There is a footnote in my bible that says the reason this is a big deal is it is a tradition to wash your hands in a certain way before eating). Jesus replies that the Pharisees have a fine way of rejecting the commandments of God, for the book says to 'honor thy father and mother', and it also says 'whatever you have gained is given to God'. Thus you are permitted to do nothing for your parents directly.
So, were the Pharisees using this convoluted logic to avoid honoring their parents, or was Jesus just accusing them of doing that? It is unclear to me.
What Defiles a Person
Jesus declares that what goes into a person cannot defile them, in doing so he nullifies all food restrictions from the old testament. What comes out of a person comes from their heart and that is what defiles him. He lists the following things that defile "evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness."
As usual with these lists, it is a bit of a mixed bag. I like telling people not to steal or murder. I definitely don't like "evil thoughts" being included on the list, I just don't like the idea of a thought crime. As long as I don't act on it I don't see the problem. Some of the things on the list are context dependent. Pride can be good, it can motivate, it can also be harmful if taken to extremes. Foolishness can be fun, who doesn't like goofing around. I'm sure that is not what he is talking about, but the words here are clumsy.
The Syrophoenician Woman's Faith
A gentile woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter who has a spirit within her. He said to her "let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She replies "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" He says that this statement was good and the demon was gone.
I don't understand this story at all.
I'm taking a guess, the bread for the children is the word of Jesus. The children are the people he is trying to reach and the dogs are other people. He just called this woman and her child dogs, and she was like "yeah we are dogs, but can't we get some crumbs?" and he was like "wow, you have a lot of faith, you child is healed". Is the correct? I hope I am wrong, because if that is correct it seems pretty awful.
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
There was a guy who was deaf and had a speech impediment, Jesus healed him. He told everyone not to spread the word but they did anyway.
Why is this a recurring theme? That Jesus tells everyone to keep his healing quiet and they don't do it?