Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Matthew 15

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1


Then some Pharisees and teachers of the Law. They came to protest against Jesus and his teaching, and to turn the people back to the Tradition. See Mark 7:1-13 for a more complete account.

Verse 2


Why is it that your disciples disobey? Not God’s Law, but the teaching handed down by the ancestors. These teachings formed an “unwritten law” which they followed carefully (see Galatians 1:14), In the proper way. A religious ritual. It was said that Rabbi Akiba, put in prison by the Romans and with barely enough water to stay alive, used it for ritual washing. Note that these bigots even knew the way in which the disciples ate their meals.

Verse 3


Jesus answered, “And why do you . . .?” He does not deny their charge, but shows that their “unwritten law” caused them to break God’s Law.

Verse 4


For God said. (Exodus 21:7) Only God has the right to make religious laws. Jesus quotes one which they did not follow, and the punishment for breaking it.

Verse 5


But you teach. Their Tradition said just the opposite of God’s command. This belongs to God. CORBAN. The teachers of the Law said that if a person said about his money and property, “This belongs to God,” he did not have to take care of this mother and father, even though he did not use his money and property for religious causes.

Verse 6


This is how. They contradicted God by what they taught. Church tradition can lead to dogma that directly contradicts what God has said. The PRIMAL FORM of the church of Christ became distorted due to the dogma of tradition.

Verse 7


Yon hypocrites! One who fools himself as well as one who fools others. Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 to show God’s evaluation of them.

Verse 8


These people . . . honor me with their words. Talk is cheap. True worship involves the heart as well (See Romans 12:1-2).

Verse 9


It is no use for them. Their worship is a waste of time. Because they teach man-made commandments. They substituted their Tradition for the rules of God. Many “standard practices” in churches today cannot be found in God’s rules. To please God, go directly to the New Testament and do as much or as little as you find God has ordered you to do.

Verse 10


Listen, and understand! He shows the people that these teachers of the Law do not really understand what it says.

Verse 11


It is not what goes into a person’s month. Jesus shows that a pure heart is far more important than “ritually clean food” in the stomach. God had commanded certain dietary laws [since repealed, Acts 10:9-16] to demonstrate moral purity, but the teachers of the Law seriously distorted these through their traditions. What comes out. This shows the true man. See Matthew 15:16-20.

Verse 12


Had their feelings hurt? Because he “kicked” their Tradition. Perhaps even the disciples felt some of this themselves.

Verse 13


Every plant . . . will be polled up. Some ideas are harmless, some are harmful, but only God’s Truth will stand the test. Since we “act out” what we believe, everyone who bases their hope on “man-made commandments” will be “pulled up” (compare Matthew 13:30).

Verse 14


Don’t worry about them. Don’t be concerned by the hurt feelings and the opposition of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. They are blind leaders. They claim to be spiritual guides, but they cannot find their own way, much less lead others.

Verse 15


Tell us what this parable means. Peter is aware that there is a deep meaning to this (in what Jesus said in Matthew 15:11).

Verses 16-17


Jesus said to them. His disciples still cannot think in spiritual terms. The things eaten, pass through the body and are expelled. Such things cannot defile the soul.

Verses 18-19


For from his heart. The heart symbolizes the “real man.” Evil actions and evil words begin from evil ideas. Compare Matthew 7:15-20.

Verse 20


These are the things. Sin makes a man unclean in the eyes of God. (Galatians 5:19-21).

Verse 21


Jesus left that place. Tyre and Sidon are cities of Phoenicia on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea about one hundred miles northwest of Jerusalem. Tyre was the leading seaport. These were Gentile cities in a Gentile country, and this was the only time Jesus went outside Palestine.

Verse 22


A Canaanite woman. Mark says she was a foreigner, born in Phoenicia of Syria. Son of David. She knew the prophecies. Two bright examples of faith are this woman and the Roman officer (Matthew 8:8-9). Have mercy on me. Her daughter’s problem is her own. She begs a favor from Jesus. A demon. (See Matthew 8:28-29).

Verse 23


But Jesus did not say a word to her. He acted this way in order to be able to teach an important lesson here.

Verse 24


I have been sent only to. His personal mission was only to the Jews, and his disciples were sent only to the Jews (Matthew 10:5-6). But after he was crucified and raised to glory, God canceled the binding rules, nailing them to his cross (Colossians 2:13-14). The Great Commission sent the followers of Christ to the whole world (Mark 16:15-16).

Verse 25


Help me, sir! She “fell at his feet” (see note on Revelation 5:14). She would not give up!

Verse 26


It isn’t right. What he said was not an insult, but normal Jewish language emphasizing the separation between Jew and Gentile. Jesus is giving her an opportunity to declare her faith.

Verse 27


But even the dogs eat the leftovers. She admits the truth of what Jesus said, but will not give up asking him to help her daughter.

Verse 28


You are a woman of great faith. She showed her great faith by: (1) She came to Christ in spite of the separation between Jew and Gentile. (2) She did not give up even when her prayer seemed unanswered. (3) She did not give up when arguments against her were presented. (4) She continued until her request was answered (compare Luke 18:1-8). Her daughter was healed. Immediately! Mark’s account follows her home to find the daughter lying on the bed, with the demon gone.

Verse 29


And went along by Lake Galilee. Mark tells that Jesus circled around to come through the territory of the Ten Towns to reach Lake Galilee. Mark mentions a miracle not recorded by the others (Mark 7:32-37).

Verse 30


Large crowds came to him. People will sacrifice their health to make a fortune, and then spend their fortune to try to recapture health. Jesus was a true healer, and very popular.

Verse 31


The people were amazed. Some of these who were healed, were their own kinfolk. The truth of what Jesus was doing amazed them! They praised the God of Israel. The miracles which Christ did caused people to praise Jehovah ]God the Father], although used of Christ in Psalms 97:7, quoted in Hebrews 1:6; Isaiah 40:3, quoted in Matthew 3:1-3; Jeremiah 23:5-6, quoted in Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:16.].

Verse 32


I feel sorry for these people. They had been with him on the hill for three days, without regular food.

Verse 33


Where will we find enough food? Their question is a hint to Jesus to perform a miracle.

Verse 34


How much bread do you have? “Seven loaves and a few small fish.” Compare this with Matthew 14:15-21.

Verses 35-37


So Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down. Again, Jesus gives thanks to the Father, asking him to bless this food, and breaks it in pieces. All have enough to eat, and seven baskets full of pieces are gathered up.

Verse 38


Four thousand men. Not quite as many as the former feeding of five thousand men.

Verse 39


Then Jesus sent the people away. To rest. Also, he could not allow the people to make him an earthly king, since his mission was to be God’s sacrifice (Luke 9:31 : Colossians 1:20). Jesus gets into a boat and goes to the territory of Magdan (Mark says Dalmanutha) near Magdala, about three miles north of Tiberias on the western shore of Lake Galilee.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 15". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/matthew-15.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
Ads FreeProfile