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The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Bible Fellowship 

 

MATTHEW 15

 
What varying experiences characterize the pilgrimage of the Master? After the worship, adoration and enthusiasm of the last chapter, we now come to bitterness and hostility. Christ's worst foes were religious men. They made to secret of their hatred of His witness. The disciples were condemned by the Parisees, not for the lack cleanliness, but for the violation of many, ridiculously minute, technical rules. In Christ's reply, we have a grave countercharge: a tranchant quotation, and an appeal to the people. With the light of publicity turned on the Pharisees, the anger was roused. The withdrawal of Christ to Tyre & Sidon suggests the need of some rest. His body & mind, as instruments in service, needed refreshment. It may not be possible always to rest from work, but we can learn how to rest in it. Gentiles are as dear to God's heart as Jews. Out Lord commanded the faith of the Syrophenician woman, and there is evidence that the needy souls He likewise healed and fed were Gentiles. How sympathetic Jesus is.


 

MATTHEW 15:1



[1] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

SCRIBES: The Scribes, in antiquity, held various important offices in the public affairs of the nation. The Hebrew word so rendered (sopher) is first used to designate the holder of some military office Judges 5:14, The scribes acted as secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue decrees in the name of the king II Samuel 8:17; 20:25; I Chronicles 18:16; 24:6; I Kings 4:3; II Kings 12:9-11 & 18:18-37. The Scribes discharged various other important public duties as men of high authority and influence in the affairs of state.

There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers. Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" Jeremiah 36:4 & 32.

In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law, gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others Ezra 7:6; 10-12 & Neh. 8:1-13. It is evident that in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions Matthew 23 thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" are in the Gospels interchangeable Matthew 22:35; Mark 12:28 & Luke 20:39. They were in the time of our Lord the public teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the apostles Acts 45 & 6:12.

Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit, and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers. Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain from these men and let them alone" Acts 5:34-39 & 23:9.

PHARSEES: The Pharsees were known as extremely religious separatists. They were probably the successors of the Assideans a party that originated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes in revolt against his heathenizing policy. The first mention of them is in a description by Josephus of the three sects or schools into which the Jews were divided 145 B.C. The other two sects were the Essenes and the Sadducees. In the time of our Lord they were the popular party (John 7:48). They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses Matthew 9:14; 23:15; Luke 11:39 & 18:12. Paul, when brought before the council of Jerusalem, professed himself a Pharisee Acts 23:6-8 & (Acts 23:6-8; 26:4-5.

There was much that was sound in their creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more. Theirs was a very lax morality (Matt. 5:20; 15:4, 8; 23:3, 14, 23, 25; John 8:7). On the first notice of them in the New Testament (Matt. 3:7), they are ranked by our Lord with the Sadducees as a "generation of vipers." They were noted for their self-righteousness and their pride (Matt. 9:11; Luke 7:39; 18:11, 12). They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matt. 12:39; 16:1-4).
From the very beginning of his ministry the Pharisees showed themselves bitter and persistent enemies of our Lord. They could not bear his doctrines, and they sought by every means to destroy his influence among the people.
 
 JERUSALEM: Called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once "the city of Judah" II Chronicles 25:28. This name is in the original in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two mountains on which it was built, Zion and Moriah; or, as some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the "lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a mountain fastness" Psalms 68:15-16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1-2 & 122:3. It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands in Palestine, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.


It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem Genesis 14:18 & Psalms 76:2. When first mentioned under the name Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king Joshua 10:1. It is afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin Judges 19:10 & I Chronicles 11:4, but in the time of David it was divided between Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken and set on fire by the men of Judah Judges 1:1-8, but the Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of Goliath thither I Samuel 17:54. David afterwards led his forces against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the city of David" II Samuel 5:5-9 & I Chronicles 11:4-8. Here he built an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite II Samuel 24:15-25, and thither he brought up the ark of the covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the kingdom.


After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah 1010 B.C.. He also greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the great center of all the civil and religious affairs of the nation Deuteronomy 12:5; 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16 & Psalms 122


After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by the kings of Israel II Kings 14:13-14; 18:15-16; 23:33-35; 24:15; II Chronicles 12:9; 26:9; 27:3-4; 29:3; 32:30 & 33:11, till finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon II Kings 25 II Chronicles 36 & Jeremiah 39, 588 BC. The desolation of the city and the land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into Egypt and by the final carrying captive into Babylon of all that still remained in the land so that it was left without an inhabitant 582 BC Compare the predictions, Deuteronomy 28 & Leviticus 26:14-39.


But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built, in troublous times Daniel 9:16-25, after a captivity of seventy years. This restoration was begun 536 BC "in the first year of Cyrus ." The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews, consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia, till 331 BC, and thereafter, for about a century and a half, under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till 167 BC. For a century the Jews maintained their independence under native rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 AD The city was then laid in ruins.


The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site, there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are now what they were in the ancient city. Till 131 AD the Jews who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the Roman sway. But in that year the emperor, Hadrian, in order to hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the leadership of one Bar-Chohaba in revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards 135 AD, however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter, and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."


In 326 A.D. Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated 335 AD. He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force, and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."



In 614 AD, the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it till 637 AD, when it was taken by the Arabians under the Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in 960 AD, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt, and in 1073 AD under the Turcomans. In 1099 AD the crusader Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this day. In 1187 AD the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the Christians. From that time to the present day, with few intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems. It has, however, during that period been again and again taken and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.


In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon, the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish exclusiveness.


Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean." This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25 geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the mountains of Ephraim and Judah.


"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains, whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."


Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim "city of peace". Another monumental record in which the Holy City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in 702 BC. The "camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about 70 AD, on the flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of the city.


The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name Zion, Sion appears to have been, like Ariel "the hearth of God", a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and the Temple II Chronicles 27:3 & 33:14.


Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were first shown in the 4th and later centuries AD, and have no authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and the course of the old walls having been traced.

 




MATTHEW 15:2



[2] Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

 

What makes this verse so interesting is that the religiosity does not accuse the disciples of breaking any religious or spiritual observance, they accuse the disciples of breaking with the “TRADITION” of the elders.

TRADITION: A tradition is any kind of teaching, written or spoken, handed down from generation to generation. In Mark 7:3-13 & Colossians 2:8. This word refers to the arbitrary interpretations of the Jews. In II Thessalonians 2:15 & 3:6, it is used in a good sense. Peter, I Peter 1:18, uses this word with reference to the degenerate Judaism of the "strangers scattered" whom he addresses. Matthew 15:10; Acts 15:10 & Galatians 1:14.
ELDER: The term/name of elder is a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence Genesis 50:7. . It also denoted a political office Numbers 22:7. The "elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of authority. Moses opened his commission to them Exodus 3:16. They attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them attended on him at the giving of the law Exodus 24:1. Seventy also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the burden of the people Numbers 11:16-17. The "elder" is the keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case among the Arabs, where the sheik, "the old man,” is the highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of Israel were the representatives of the people from the very first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors Deuteronomy 31:28, as local magistrates 16:18, administering justice 19:12. They were men of extensive influence I Samuel 30:26-31. In New Testament times they also appear taking an active part in public affairs Matthew 16:21; 21:23 & 26:59.
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the only permanent essential office of the church under either dispensation."
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors" Ephesians 4:11, "bishops or overseers" Acts 20:28, "leaders" and "rulers" I Thessalonians 5:12 & Hebrews 13:7 of the flock. Everywhere in the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one and the same officer of the Christian Church. He who is called presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay upon him Acts 20:17-28; Philippians 1:1 Titus 1:5-7.
Acts 15:10...Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
 



MATTHEW 15:3



[3] But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Jesus and the religiosity are now about to enter into a long and indepth discussion on the difference of the authority of the Scriptures and the traditions of religion.

Jesus is about to argue that the authority of the Scriptures rises up head-n-shoulders over the religious traditions of man.

Religiosity is about to argue that following the traditions of religion is observing the authority of the Scriptues. And that also, when you observe the traditions of religion it is equal to following and obeying God. And, that when one does not observe the religious traditions of man, such as not performing the ceremonial washing of hands before eating, they are in fact, in their view, disobeying God.

Religiosty is actually saying that they are above the very God.




MATTHEW 15:4



[4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Deuteronomy 21:18-23...If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: [19] Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; [20] And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. [21] And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. [22] And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: [23] His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.




MATTHEW 15:5



[5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

CORBAN: Corban is a Hebrew word adopted into the Greek of the New Testament and left untranslated. It occurs only once Mark 7:11. It means a gift or offering consecrated to God. Anything over which this word was once pronounced was irrevocably dedicated to the temple. Land, however, so dedicated might be redeemed before the year of jubilee Leviticus 27:16-24. Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their false doctrine, inasmuch as by their traditions they had destroyed the commandment which requires children to honour their father and mother, teaching them to find excuse from helping their parents by the device of pronouncing "Corban" over their goods, thus reserving them to their own selfish use.

Cprban cam a;sp be an offering to God of any sort, bloody or bloodless, but particularly in fulfillment of a vow. The law laid down rules for vows:
1. affirmative;
2. negative Leviticus 27:1 & Numbers 30:1.
Upon these rules the traditionists enlarged, and laid down that a man might interdict himself by vow, not only from using for himself, bur from giving to another or receiving from him, some particular object, whether of food or any other kind whatsoever. The thing thus interdicted was considered as corban . A person might thus exempt himself from any inconvenient obligation under plea of corban. It was practices of this sort that our Lord reprehended, Matthew 15:5 & Mark 7:11 as annulling the spirit of the law.

Mark 7:11...But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.


Leviticus 27:16-24...And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.
[17] If he sanctify his field from the year of jubile, according to thy estimation it shall stand. [18] But if he sanctify his field after the jubile, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubile, and it shall be abated from thy estimation. [19] And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him. [20] And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more. [21] But the field, when it goeth out in the jubile, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest's. [22] And if a man sanctify unto the LORD a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession; [23] Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubile: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the LORD. [24] In the year of the jubile the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.

Numbers 30:1-2...And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded. [2] If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.


What Jesus is speaking of in this verse, is that at times if a man did not want to care for his elderly parents, he would tell his elderly parents that the money which he had laid aside to care for them was corban. This is claiming that this money had been donated to the temple and that the son did not have it in reserve. Which means he was telling his elderly parents that the money to take care of them has been presented to the temple as corban or as a gift. Jesus strongly condemned such practices.





MATTHEW 15:6



[6] 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.

 

This is a religious situation whereby the religiosity has taken a simple procedure, and turned it into a doctoral issue. What once was a simple procedure, as in the washing of hands, is now become a major religious argument because of tradition. What was once a simple tradition, because of religious interference, is now a major issue of religious doctrine.






MATTHEW 15:7-8



[7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, [8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Isaiah 29:13...Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:






MATTHEW 15:9



[9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 

In the world of professionalized religion, this is something which can happen so easily. And that being, over the long years, that which started out as a simple observance or a simple denominational tradition, can turn into a theological doctrine of said Church Denomination. Thus, making a simple observance of tradition, a vital point of Systematic Theology in which they feel is worthy of all defense. To the point, that real Bible Theology is slowly replaced by the theology of observance and tradition. And with this, the real Bible Theology is slowly passed into the dark realm of inconsequential shadows of the past.





MATTHEW 15:10



[10] And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

 

Revelation 2:7...He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:17...He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.





MATTHEW 15:11



[11] Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Some dirt and germs going into a man's mouth from unwashed hands is probably not going to harm him. However, the words that come out of his mouth reveal the true nature of the man's walk with God. If you listen to a person long enough, they will tell you of the true nature of their walk with God.

Jeremiah 17:9-10...The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Romans 3:10-18...As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. [13] Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: [14] Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: [15] Their feet are swift to shed blood: [16] Destruction and misery are in their ways: [17] And the way of peace have they not known: [18] There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 14:14-23...I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
[15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. [16] Let not then your good be evil spoken of: [17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. [18] For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. [19] Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. [20] For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. [21] It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. [22] Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. [23] And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Colossians 2:20-23...Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, [21] (Touch not; taste not; handle not; [22] Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?[23] Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Titus 1:15...Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.






MATTHEW 15:12



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

The Pharisees would have been very offended that Jesus would challenge them at all. But to challenge them in public before people, this would have proven very offensive.

We learn a valuable lesson here about the person of Jesus. That being, He was far more concerned with Scriptural Truth, than He was about the feelings of people.

Matthew 22:16...And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.


Mark 12:14...And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?






MATTHEW 15:13



[13] But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

Notice that Jesus is not speaking of wild flower but a pre-determined plant with a pre-

determined position. This would mean that Jesus is making reference to the rabbis and their traditions. The point Jesus is attempting to make is that these traditions which the rabbis hold so dearly are not of God. These traditions are just that. They are traditions. These traditions did not come from Scripture but from the minds of mortal men. There is nothing theological, doctrinal nor Scriptural about them. They are merely man-made tradition. And Jesus is saying that the time will come when these traditions will be plucked up by the root.






MATTHEW 15:14



[14] Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

The religiosity always fancied themselves as these tremendous experts and leaders of the Scriptures. The statement of Jesus is that they were blind unsaved religionist leading blind unsaved religionist.






MATTHEW 15:15



[15] Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

Peter, like most all Jewish children, was brought up in the Synagogue schools. Jewish children went to school from age 5-12. In consequence, he has been taught that the Rabbis are right and never wrong.

Now along comes Jesus and publicly declares that the traditions which the Rabbis have been teaching is all error. In this, Peter would like an explanation.






MATTHEW 15:16



[16] And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

At times Jesus was forced to be confrontational with the disciples. That is part of the mentor/student relationship. Jesus is also aware that He will only have limited time to get the disciples up to the readiness required to continue on after He goes back to the Father in Heaven in Acts 1:9. We see this here in Matthew 15:16. Jesus needs to get them ready. At times, this level of readiness, is going to require a confrontational push.

Hosea 4:6...My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.





MATTHEW 15:17


[17] Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

Jesus is attempting to play down the flesh and the traditions governing the flesh. He uses the most basic function of the flesh in order to play down the importance thereof. That being, we eat, and them some time later we need to go to the toilet to expel what the body does not require of the food which we just now ate.

It would be by the same token that we need to be careful of the spiritual advice which we receive. As the advice good solid spiritual advice, or is it dangerous religious advice?

The good spiritual advice we take to heart and keep it. The dangerous religious advice we cast it down the toilet.





MATTHEW 15:18



[18] But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man

Here Jesus is speaking of words which represent thoughts and desires. The words which reveal the moral defilement which is already in our hearts/minds. Jesus is trying to tell us that our mouths reveals what is really and truly in the depts of of our hearts and thinking.

Five things that will defile a man:

1. Evil thoughts/reasoning: Luke 9:46

2. Evil imaginations: Romans 1:21

3. Evil doubts: Rms 14:1 & I Tim 2:8

4. Evil disputing: Philippians 2:14

5. Evil thoughts: Mt 15:19; Mk 7:21; Lk 2:35; 5:22; 6:8; 9:47; 24:38; I Cor 3:20 & James 2:4. Evil thoughts and/or reasonings intellectual rebellions against God.

Our relationship with God is not contengent on our personal cleaness, such as the washing of our food or hands, but our relationship with God is contengent on the cleaness of our hearts.

The heart can be a very vile and deceitful betrayer of our souls:

Jeremiah 17:9...The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


James 3:6...And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.






MATTHEW 15:19



[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

HEART: According to the Bible, the heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise I Kings 3:12, pure Psalms 24:4 & Mattthew 5:8, upright and righteous Genesis 20:5-6; Psalms 11:2 & 78:72 & pious and good Luke 8:15. In these and such passages the word "soul" could not be substituted for "heart."

The heart is also the seat of the conscience Romans 2:15. It is naturally wicked Genesis 8:21, and hence it contaminates the whole life and character Matthew 12:34;15:18; Eccl. 8:11 & Psalms 73:7. Hence, the heart must be changed, regenerated Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Psalms 51:10-14, before a man can willingly obey God.

The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart Psalms 95:8; Proverbs 28:14 & II Chronicles 36:13. "Hardness of heart evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things."

MURDER: In the Bible wilful murder was distinguished from accidental homicide, and was invariably visited with capital punishment Leviticus 24:17 & Numbers 35:16-31. This law in its principle is founded on the fact of man's having been made in the likeness of God Genesis 9:5-6; John 8:44 & I John 3:12-15. The Mosiac law prohibited any compensation for murder or the reprieve of the murderer Exodus21:12-14; Deuteronomy 19:11-13; II Samuel 17:25 & 20:10. Two witnesses were required in any capital case Numbers 35:19-30; Deuteronomy 17:6-12. If the murderer could not be discovered, the city nearest the scene of the murder was required to make expiation for the crime committed Deuteronomy 21:1-9. These offences also were to be punished with death,


(1) striking a parent;
(2) cursing a parent;
(3) kidnapping Exodus 21:15-17 & Deuteronomy 27:16.

ADULTERY: In the Bible, adultery is defined as conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a great social wrong, as well as a great sin.

The Mosaic law Numbers 5:11-31 prescribed that the suspected wife should be tried by the ordeal of the "water of jealousy." There is, however, no recorded instance of the application of this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various regulations with the view of discovering the guilty party, and of bringing about a divorce. It has been inferred from John 8:1-11that this sin became very common during the age preceding the destruction of Jerusalem.

Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are spoken of as adultery spiritually Jeremiah 3:6-9; Ezekiel 16:32; Hosea 1:2-3 & Revelation 2:22. An apostate church is an adulteress Isaiah 1:21; Ezekiel 23:4-7 & Ezekiel 23:37. and the Jews are styled "an adulterous generation" Matthew 12:39 & Revelation 12.

FORNICATION: In the Bible, every form of fornication is sternly condemned by the Mosaic law Leviticus 21:9; 19:29; Deuteronomy 22:20-29 & Exodus 22:16.

But this word is more frequently used in a symbolical than in its ordinary sense. It frequently means a forsaking of God or a following after idols Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 1:2; 2:1-5 & Jeremiah 3:8-9.

Also, in the eyes of God, pre-marital sex is fornication.

THEFT: In the Bible, theft is punishable by restitution, the proportions of which are noted in II Samuel 12:6. If the thief could not pay the fine, he was to be sold to a Hebrew master till he could pay Exodus 22:1-4. A night-thief might be smitten till he died, and there would be no blood-guiltiness for him 22:2. A man-stealer was to be put to death 21:16. All theft is forbidden Exodus 20:15; 21:16; Levitiucs 19:11; Deuteronomy 5:19; 24:7; Psalms 50:18; Zechariah 5:3; Matthew 19:18; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28 & I Peter 4:15.

FALSE WITNESS: The Bible requires more than one witness to be required in criminal cases Deuteronomy 17:6 & 19:15. They were the first to execute the sentence on the condemned Deuteronomy 13:9; 17:7; I Kings 21:13; Matthew 27:1 & Acts 7:57-58. False witnesses were liable to punishment Deuteronomy 19:16-21. It was also an offence to refuse to bear witness Leviticus 5:1.

Among people with whom writing is not common the evidence of a transaction is given by some tangible memorial or significant ceremony: Abraham gave seven ewe-lambs to Abimelech as an evidence of his property in the well of Beersheba. Jacob raised a heap of stones, "the heap of witness." as a boundary-mark between himself and Laban. Genesis 21:30; 31:47-52. The tribes of Reuben and Gad raised an "altar" as a witness to the covenant between themselves and the rest of the nation. Joshua set up a stone as an evidence of the allegiance promised by Israel to God. Joshua 22:10-34 & 24:26-27. But written evidence was by no means unknown to the Jews. Divorce was to be proved by a written document. Joshua 24:1-3. In civil contracts, at least in later times documentary evidence was required and carefully preserved. Isaiah 8:16 & Jeremiah 32:10-16 On the whole the law was very careful to provide and enforce evidence for all its infractions and all transactions bearing on them. Among special provisions with respect to evidence are the following:

  1. Two witnesses at least are required to establish any charge. Numbers 35:30; 17:6; John 8:17; II Corinthians 13:1 & I Timothy 5:19.
  2. In the case of the suspected wife, evidence besides the husband's was desired. Numbers 5:13
  3. The witness who withheld the truth was censured. Leviticus 5:1  False witness was punished with the penalty due to the offence which it sought to establish. Slanderous reports and officious witness are discouraged. Exodus 20:16;23:1 & Leviticus 18:16-18.
  1. The witnesses were the first executioners. Acts 7:58.
  2. In case of an animal left in charge and torn by wild beasts, the keeper was to bring the carcass in proof of the fact and disproof of his own criminality. Exodus 22:13
  3. According to Josephus, women and slaves were not admitted to bear testimony. In the New Testament the original notion of a witness is exhibited in the special form of one who attests his belief in the gospel by personal suffering. Hence it is that the use of the ecclesiastical term "martyr." the Greek word for "witness," has arisen.

Blasphemy: In the Bible, Blasphemy is speaking evil of God. The word blasphemy is found in Psalms 74:18; Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24; Revelation 13:1-6 & 16:9-21. It denotes also any kind of calumny, or evil-speaking, or abuse I Kings 21:10; Acts 13:45 & 18:6. Our Lord was accused of blasphemy when he claimed to be the Son of God Matthew 9:3; Matthew 26:65 & Mark 2:7. They who deny his Messiahship blaspheme Jesus Luke 22:65 & John 10:36.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28:-29 & Luke 12:10 is regarded by some as a continued and obstinate rejection of the gospel, and hence is an unpardonable sin, simply because as long as a sinner remains in unbelief he voluntarily excludes himself from pardon. Others regard the expression as designating the sin of attributing to the power of Satan those miracles which Christ performed, or generally those works which are the result of the Spirit's agency.


MATTHEW 15:20

[20] These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

WASHING: In Mark 7:1-9, the Jews, like other Orientals, used their fingers when taking food, and therefore washed their hands before doing so, for the sake of cleanliness. Here the reference is to the ablutions prescribed by tradition, according to which "the disciples ought to have gone down to the side of the lake, washed their hands thoroughly, 'rubbing the fist of one hand in the hollow of the other, then placed the ten finger-tips together, holding the hands up, so that any surplus water might flow down to the elbow, and thence to the ground.'" To neglect to do this had come to be regarded as a great sin, a sin equal to the breach of any of the ten commandments. Moses had commanded washings oft, but always for some definite cause; but the Jews multiplied the legal observance till they formed a large body of precepts. To such precepts about ceremonial washing Mark here refers.

Washing your food and your hands before eating is a very prudent practice. It may keep down numerous viruses and deseases. Though this washing proves prudent, it is not a commandment of Biblical Doctrine or Theology. It does not give the religiosity the authority to make this practice into a commandment. This washing is of medical significane, but not of theological significance.





MATTHEW 15:21



[21] Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

TYRE: Tyre is a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about twenty three miles, in a direct line, north of Acre, and twenty miles south of Sidon. Sidon was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gadeira. In the time of David a friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings II Samuel 5:11; I Kings 5:1 & II Chronicles 2:3.

Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small, rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian era. It is referred to in Matthew 11:21 & Acts 12:20. In A.D. 1,291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate ruin ever since.

"The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that city."

Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the least important class were those who were celebrated for the engraving of precious stones." II Chronicles 2:7-14.

The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted Isaiah 23:1; Jeremiah 25:22; Ezekiel 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9-10 & Zechariah 9:2-4.

Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a week in intercourse with the disciples there Acts 21:4. Here the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all, with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore. The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38 miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea Acts 21:5-8.

"It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage (about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000 inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument yet recovered."

SIDON: The Sidon region is known for fishing & fishery, Genesis 10:15-19; Matthew 11:21-22 & Luke 6:17. In the Bible, Sidon is also called Zidon. Sidon/Zidon is a fishery, Is is a town on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles north of Tyre. It received its name from the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah Genesis 10:15-19. It was the first home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Palestine, and from its extensive commercial relations became a "great" city Joshua 11:8 & 19:28. It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued Judges 1:31.The Sidons/Zidonians long oppressed Israel Judges 10:12. From the time of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin daughter" Isaiah 23:12 rose to its place of pre-eminence. Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Sidons/Zidonians, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel I Kings 11:1-33. This city was famous for its manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce I Kings 5:6; I Chronicles 22:4 & Ezekiel 27:8. It is frequently referred to by the prophets Isaiah 23:2-12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21-22; 32:30 & Joel 3:4. Our Lord visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon/Zidon Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24 & Luke 4:26 and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching Mark 3:8 & Luke 6:17. From Sidon/Zidon at which the ship put in after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome Acts 27:3-4.

This city is now a town of 10,000 inhabitants, with remains of walls built in the twelfth century A.D. In 1855, the sarcophagus of Eshmanezer was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians," probably in the third century B.C., and that his mother was a priestess of Ashtoreth, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.






MATTHEW 15:22



[22] 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.

CANAAN: Canaan was the fourth son of Ham Genesis 10:6. His descendants were under a curse in consequence of the transgression of his father Genesis 9:22-27. His eldest son, Zidon, was the father of the Sidonians and Phoenicians. He had eleven sons, who were the founders of as many tribes Genesis 10:15-18. .

The country which derived its name from the preceding. The name as first used by the Phoenicians denoted only the maritime plain on which Sidon was built. But in the time of Moses and Joshua it denoted the whole country to the west of the Jordan and the Dead Sea Deuteronomy 11:30. In Josh. 5:12 the LXX. read, "land of the Phoenicians," instead of "land of Canaan."

The name signifies "the lowlands," as distinguished from the land of Gilead on the east of Jordan, which was a mountainous district. The extent and boundaries of Canaan are fully set forth in different parts of Scripture Genesis 10:19; 17:8; Numbers 13:29 & 34:8.





MATTHEW 15:23



[23] But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Jesus wanted to give this woman time to manifest faith in great earnest and complete her request. Today many Church people want to send others away to avoid the ministry of mercy and compassion.

Isaiah 53:4...Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.


Matthew 8:17...That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.


John 10:10...The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I John 3:8...He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

I Peter 2:24...Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.






MATTHEW 15:24



[24] But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

God's plan was to offer salvation first to Israel before going to the Gentiles Matthew 10:6; John 1:11 & Romans 1:16. Then after this, take the same message to the Gentiles Matthew 21:43; John 10:16; Romans 1:16; 9:24-33 & Ephesians 3:1-11.

Sheep who are lost in sin. Sheep who have lost their way. Not because of their national identity, but because of the human sin nature.

The primary interest of the mission of Jesus would be initially to the House of Israel. However, many times Jesus would be presented with the opportunity to minister to other peoples of other nationalities. An opportunity in which Jesus would embrace.







MATTHEW 15:25



[25] Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

WORSHIP: In the Bible, worship is homage rendered to God which it is sinful idolatry to render to any created being Exodus 34:14 & Isaiah 2:8. Such worship was refused by Peter Acts 10:25-26, and by an angel Revelation 22:8-9.






MATTHEW 15:26



[26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

What Jesus is speaking of in this illustration, would be that of a Jewish family sitting down to have dinner. While attempting dinner they have these little dogs running around the table, on the floor, jumping up on the people at the table attempting to get food from them. In this illustration, the dogs are Gentiles. Jesus is saying that He is not going to give the blessings of the Jews to the Gentiles.






MATTHEW 15:27



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

This woman right readily acknowledges that what Jesus has said is quite true. His ministry was to be for the Nation of Israel only. However, this woman is here fighting for the life of her daughter. Which means she will use any means necessary to get Jesus to once look upon this poor gentile and her daughter with great mercy. This mother is telling Jesus that if she cannot have the best of His ministry, then she would be willing to settle for the crumbs. If it would drive this hellish demon from the body of her dear daughter.






MATTHEW 15:29



[29] And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

SAT: Sitting was Jesus' favorite position to be in when He was teaching. Sitting was the attitude generally assumed in Palestine by those who were engaged in any kind of work. "The carpenter saws, planes, and hews with his hand-adze, sitting on the ground or upon the plank he is planning. The washerwoman sits by the tub; and, in a word, no one stands when it is possible to sit. Shopkeepers always sit, and Levi sitting at the receipt of custom Matthew 9:9 is the exact way to state the case."






MATTHEW 15:30



[30] 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:

In the days of Jesus, to contract a serious health issue could almost be an automatic sentence of death. Insignificant health issues of today, which can me handled on an out-patient basis, was quite serious in the days of Jesus.

This is why the healing ministry of Jesus was so popular. The physicians of His day were, for the most part, perhaps one step above a witch doctor. This is why Jesus would be thronged everywhere He went. The people knew He could heal them as opposed to physicians.

Cast means that the people would literally throw the sick patients of the ground of Jesus feet. That way He could miss them. And He had to either heal them, or just walk around them.






MATTHEW 15:31



[31] 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.

This wording would suggest a non-Israelite gathering. What ever the case, Jesus has used His miracles to convince the gathering that He is quite real.





MATTHEW 15:32


[32] 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.

 There are those times which the only way you can teach a student what you want them to learn is by placing them into a very difficult situation. This incident is no different.

Jesus needs to display His awesome power in an impossible situation. It was nothing unusual for Jesus to be thronged by thousands of people at one time. In this case Jesus has had thousands of people following Him for three days. They have not eaten and the three days of teaching is coming to an end. It is now time for these people to be sent home.

There is no food and no money to purchase food. And if the people went into the surrounding towns to purchase food, the food supply of these towns would be literally exhausted.

And now Jesus is presenting the disciples with this situation and He is going to let them resolve it.