Matthew 15

Matthew 15

What did I learn about Jesus?

  • Jesus is concerned with what defiles the heart, not outward appearances.
  • Jesus is looking for people of faith.

What did I learn about disciple-making?

  • Sometimes you have to teach the same lesson twice (multiplying loaves again!).
  • We may be surprised who Jesus calls to follow him.


Extended thoughts and observations from elder, Steve Maxwell:

Vs. 1-10- The question from the Pharisees of the disciples not washing hands before eating was rooted in religious tradition. Jesus calls the Pharisees out on this as they were putting their tradition ahead of the teaching of scripture.  Beginning in verse 3 He calls them out on using the appearance of devotion to God as an alibi for not taking care of/supporting their parents (honoring their father and mother).  

It is true today that some people often know the traditions of their church better than what the Word of God actually says – and thus fall into the error of having an outward from of godliness but lack the heart which is obedient to God’s Word. Often religious rituals and traditions serve as a cover for a cold heart toward God and inward disobedience. As we think about discipleship we must realize that there is a difference between religion and following Christ. Religion is about the outside; discipleship is about the inside, the heart.

Vs. 21-28- I was struck by the way Jesus answered the Canaanite woman; first silence, then a comment about being sent only to Israel. Why did he answer her the way he did? I think He had healed Gentiles before (4:24, Chap 8). Perhaps He was testing her faith, seeing if she understood who He was, testing her motives, stretching her faith? Ultimately the true character of Jesus emerged – mercy and grace. My thoughts are that sometimes God is silent and we have to persevere in our prayers. When God doesn’t answer our prayers, it does stretch our faith. Faith is a muscle. I need to be more persistent in prayers that God has not yet answered.  

(Pastor Mark jumping in here– The story of the Caananite woman has always intrigued me.  I agree…I think it WAS a test. Why would He have traveled here unless He was willing/interested in bringing His message to non-Jews? He had done so earlier in the Decapolis. This is the farthest Jesus is reported as having traveled in the gospels. The term “dog” was very derogatory, but this word actually means “puppy,” a family pet. I think Jesus was testing…and maybe even teasing her a bit…and, like a puppy with a sock, would not let go. Give me crumbs, she says. )

Vs. 29-39 – In Vs.33 after witnessing and participating in feeding of the 5,000 in chapter 14, the disciples didn’t know where the food would come from to feed the crowd. Either they weren’t paying attention or they still lacked faith.  

My takeaways are that I need to hold loosely to rituals and traditions and tightly to the Word of God.  I must be persistent in prayer. I want to remember God’s provision and be full of faith.

(Again, Pastor Mark here—I agree with Steve…this calls forth greater perseverance from me in my prayers and expectations of God. Do I REALLY believe that Jesus’ crumbs are better than the feast this world has to offer?

Thanks, for sharing in this journey through the word together!)