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Matthew 15

Feeding the Four Thousand (Matthew 15)


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Matthew 15

Jesus criticises traditions that do not honour God
Then there came to Jesus Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, saying: 2 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. 3 And he answered and said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God said: Honour your father and your mother, and he that speaks evil of father or mother must surely die. 5 But you say: Whoever shall say to his father or his mother: That with which you might have been profited by me is given to God- 6 he shall not honour his father. Thus you have made void the word of God because of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying: 8 This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines which are the precepts of men.
Jesus teaches about the source of evil
10 And he called to himself the crowd, and said to them: Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth which defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.
   12 Then came the disciples, and said to him: Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said: Every plant which my heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone. They are blind guides. And if the blind are guided by the blind, both shall fall into a pit.
   15 And Peter answered and said to him: Explain to us the parable. 16 And he said: Are you still without understanding? 17 Do you not understand, that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly and is expelled? 18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart, and it is they that defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness and slander. 20 These are the things which defile the man - but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.

Jesus goes to other countries.
He heals a Gentile girl
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. 23 But he did not answer her. And his disciples came and begged him, saying: Send her away, for she cries out after us. 24 But he answered and said: I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying: Lord! Help me! 26 And he answered and said: It is not right to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs. 27 But she said: Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her: O woman, great is your faith. Be it done to you even as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that moment.
Jesus heals many Gentiles
 29 And Jesus departed from there and came near to the Sea of Galilee; and he went up the mountain and sat there. 30 And there came to him great crowds, having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others; and they put them down at his feet, and he healed them; 31 so much so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking and the blind seeing.  And they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus feeds 4000 Gentile men plus their families
32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him, and said: I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way. 33 And the disciples said to him: Where can we get so many loaves in this deserted place to fill so great a crowd? 34 And Jesus said to them: How many loaves have you? And they said: Seven, and a few small fish. 35 And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 He took the seven loaves and the fish; and he gave thanks and broke the bread and gave it to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were filled, and they collected what was left over of the broken pieces- seven baskets full! 38 And besides women and children, they that had eaten were four thousand men. 39 And he sent away the crowds, boarded the boat and went into the region of Magdalla.



15:6 Traditions are dangerous. God’s commandments are intended to have an effect upon our lives; human traditions tend to find an easier way, whereby His commands lack cutting edge in our lives.

15:9 Note the parallel between doctrines and commandments (:6). Understanding correct doctrine is important because doctrine shapes our lives; it is a commandment.

15:16 We feel Jesus’ frustration with the disciples. He expected them to have reached a higher point of perception than they had. He may set similar benchmarks for us, as any good teacher does, and be disappointed at the slowness of our growth. Matthew was telling his hearers that he too, and all the founders of the early church, had been terribly slow to understand, and had been a great disappointment to Jesus. He preached the Gospel with humility and an awareness of his own weakness.

15:19 Sin comes from within; nothing outside of us, e.g. demons or spirits, can enter us and possess us, thereby making us sin. The source of sin is internal and not external. The real battle is for self control and spiritual mindedness. See notes about Satan.

15:27 The dogs were the Gentiles; crumbs were the miracles; the masters were the Jews; the meal or table was Jesus’ fellowship and ministry to the Jews. She showed humility and faith by saying this; she knew that even the miracle she so sought was a mere crumb of what Jesus was offering Israel. They refused so much.

15:32 Jesus perceived that the crowd was hungry. Jesus is the same today as He was then (Heb. 13:8). He’s just as perceptive to our needs as He was then.

15:39 See on 14:23. The power of Jesus’ personality and words deeply impressed Matthew.