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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Matthew 15

 

 

Introduction

Changing Hearts And Causing Faith
- Matthew Fifteen -

It is Jesus" desire that our hearts be changed and our faith becomes strong. Pure hearts and strong faith lead to devoted service to the Master. A lack of purity of heart or having weak faith causes one not to be able to distinguish between faith and custom. These failures also cause us not to recognize Jesus as the Christ of God.

Jesus was the master teacher. In spreading God"s truth He often came in conflict with the religious leaders of His day over the matter of keeping traditions. Traditions start and people keep them up with no understanding of why. The problem is never tradition but it is "traditionalism." This happens when people give human traditions the same authority as is given to the word of God.

Paul even referred to the word of God as the "ordinances" or "traditions" that I have delivered to you. "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you." (1 Corinthians 11:1-2) He said, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Obviously not all "traditions" of men are wrong. When the traditions are the inspired teachings of God they must be respected. The doctrines and commandments of men are not to be looked upon in that way. The problem with the traditions of men is that they can: (1) make void the word of God, (2) lead to vain worship, and (3) lead to hypocritical worship that does not come from the heart. We must be certain that our faith is based on the written Word of God and not on the traditions of men.

Jesus also dealt with the bind leaders of the blind. These blind leaders held to the traditions of men. They put traditions above the word of God. They planted things that God had not planted. Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."

The very touching account of the Syrophenician woman was is also found in Matthew 15. She was a Gentile. She was from one of those nations that should have been driven out of the land of Canaan. This account of a mother"s search for help for her demon possessed daughter demonstrated great faith.

Matthew 15 likewise provides record of Jesus feeding the 4,000. There were Jews, Gentiles, men and women, adults and children. The thing they all had in common is that they were hungry. They were hungry both spiritually and physically. Their spiritual hunger caused them to stay with Jesus three days without physical food. His compassion caused Him to perform this great miracle.


Verses 1-20

A Change Of Heart Is Needed - Matthew 15:1-20 : Through traditions the Pharisees were transgressing God"s law. They were beautiful on the outside but they needed a change of heart on the inside. (Matthew 15:1-3) Just having the outside right but not the heart makes one a hypocrite. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8) This change can never be brought about by blind leaders of the blind.

Jesus said that the, evil things in a person"s life come from the heart. "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 unwashed hands does not defile a man." (Matthew 15:19-20) Good things come from a good heart, and evil things come from an evil heart. When our heart is pure we have peace and can enjoy the abundant life!


Verses 21-28

A Change Of Heart Brings You To Jesus - Matthew 15:21-28 : A woman with a changed heart came to Jesus asking for help for her daughter. "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." (Matthew 15:22) She knew Jesus could help and a changed heart brought her to Him. Jesus" response to a changed heart was, "...O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire. And her daughter was healed from that very hour." (Matthew 15:28)

This woman was commended for her faith because she acted boldly on her faith. Her request to Jesus was urgent and Jesus was willing to give her daughter the needed help!


Verses 29-31

A Reason To Change Your Heart - Matthew 15:29-31 : Both what Jesus said and what He did gives good reason to change your heart. "Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus" feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel." (Matthew 15:30-31)

The multitude wondered about the things done by Jesus as well they should because only a man sent from God could do these signs. Right before their eyes they had proof of both the love of Christ and of His miraculous power. Jesus is the Son of God and His actions and words demand a change of heart. Jesus had two purposes in His personal ministry. He wanted to bring glory to God and to be a blessing to humanity. In His life and actions we observe that He accomplished both!


Verses 32-39

More Reason To Change Your Heart - Matthew 15:32-39 : The multitude had been listening to Jesus three days without eating. He had compassion on them and did not want to send them away hungry and faint. (Matthew 15:32) Jesus multiplied seven loaves and a few little fish (Matthew 15:34) to feed four thousand men, besides women and children, most of whom were Gentiles. (Matthew 15:38.)

What a lesson of Jesus" power and His faithfulness and His sufficiency? This miracle proved Jesus to be God"s Son and demanded a total change in every human heart. It is wonderful news to know that Jesus feeds and saves even those that are Gentiles.

In a world full of hypocrisy and evil actions there is a great need for changed hearts and strong faith. Only Jesus can change hearts. Blind religious leaders do not and cannot help. "But He answered and said, Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." (Matthew 15:13-14)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 15:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/matthew-15.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, January 25th, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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