Matthew 15

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.  And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude.  And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.  And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

This chapter has one of my favorite parts in it, yet, as I’ve said before, when I first began reading the Bible regularly, I didn’t understand it. I had to have read that part about 10 times before it was clear.  But let’s start from the top…

Again we see the religious leaders harping on Jesus and His disciples for not following traditions when they hold the people under the yoke of man made rules.  It amazes me that after all this time, the Pharisees have seen evidence of the miracles Jesus has done, and even the disciples by this time. And yet they worry about simple hygiene.  Also they have to dig deep to find anything to pick apart, and yet, like the adulterous woman they claimed was “caught in the very act”, they must be looking real hard, as in spying on them to try and find anything to nail them with.

I love Jesus’ response here. First, they claim a tradition of men that they’re breaking. Jesus points out that they break the Commandment of God with their traditions.

Then He replies that which comes out of the mouth is from the heart.  Jesus proved once again their hypocrisy that they honor God in public, yet their hearts are far from Him. He points out their planks vs. the disciples specks and also the fact that the religious leaders didn’t give one whit about laws unless they could use them to hold the people in chains and submission.   Right here as in so many places does the phrase we find in John 8, Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed, that so shows the truth in that. While religion keeps people slaves, Jesus sets them free through a relationship with, and being a child of the Father.

Hear and understand…”  Jesus tells the multitudes, that they need to listen and understand something opposite of what the religious leaders had taught them all their lives.  He shows compassion again for the masses, those who never received such attention from the oh so important religious leaders.

Let them alone...”  Have nothing to do with the spiritually blind, who are foolish in the ways of spiritual things of God, when Jesus teaches us all we need to know.

Then the Canaanite woman- one of my favorite parts.   While Jesus’ initial answer seems harsh to us the fact is, as Messiah  He was first sent for the Israelites only which He makes clear here.  But again, her simple belief and faith even of worshiping Him, and especially her answer that even dogs get the crumbs from the master’s table.  She refused to let obstacles get in the way of her faith and devotion to Jesus.  Jesus was not only pleased and approved of such worship and faith, but also showed His love for all, not just Jews.

He also cures her daughter, a gentile, yet her great love and trust of Him shows that those who conform to Jesus’s will, will find that He gives wholly even if He is quiet about it for a time.

After He gives the woman her desire, He departs from there and goes onto Galilee and really begins to show His love, compassion and mercy through all kinds of healings. And the people glorified God because of them.

They stayed with Jesus three days, which shows the desire and will of the people to be with Him no matter how long He will stay. And we see again the compassion Jesus has for their physical bodies as well as spiritual. He again fed a multitude, not quite as many as the first time, but again, until everyone was satisfied, with plenty left over.   What kind of stands out though is again the disciples questioning where they would get food. Did they not just learn that from the previous time?

Jesus sends them away- fed and healed, they need no more miracles then, and now it’s time to go back to their homes and trust and remember.  Hearing, then doing, and meditating on what Jesus taught them.  That  God provides, and provides abundantly.

I’m standing on your promises
I know your Word is true
You’re bigger than what I see
It’s You and in exchange for me
‘Cause even the impossible can be reality

Have a blessed Wednesday all!