Home / Commentary / Matthew / Matthew Chapter 15
The Pharisees return to attack Jesus with a loaded question. Jesus flips the question on its head and demonstrates through an example and a prophecy how the Pharisees think more of their traditions than they do the law of God or their parents.
Jesus summons the crowd to Him and addresses the Pharisees’ charge against His disciples with a proverb. It teaches that it is the inner harmony from the heart that demonstrates a man’s holiness, rather than external rituals which are for show.
The disciples express a concern to Jesus that He is insulting the Pharisees. Beneath their concern is that these insults will alienate Jesus from the cultural powerbrokers and hinder His mission and/or the disciples’ future status. Jesus responds to their concern with two metaphors and a piece of advice.
Peter asks Jesus to explain what He meant when He told the crowd “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Apparently this thought challenged Peter’s assumptions of wickedness and righteousness. Jesus corrects Peter’s wrong assumption by explaining how wickedness is primarily an issue stemming from the heart.
Jesus travels to the Gentile province of Tyre. A Canaanite woman begs Him to heal her daughter. At first Jesus refuses, because He was sent to Israel. But as the woman persists in her great faith, Jesus grants her request.
Jesus relocates from Tyre to the Decapolis. Crowds of Gentiles come to Him on a remote hillside, bringing this sick and lame to be healed. Jesus heals them and they glorify the God of Israel.
Jesus miraculously feeds a multitude of 4,000 Gentile men plus women and children. He then leaves to return to home district across the Sea of Galilee.
In another confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus calls the religious leaders “blind guides.” Jesus uses the religious sect as a negative example and tells a crowd that the inner righteousness of a person’s heart matters more than what they display on the outside. Jesus travels to the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon and casts out a demon from the daughter of a Canaanite woman of faith. Jesus returns by the Sea of Galilee, performing many miracles, including feeding of four thousand. Jesus then goes to the lakeside town of Magdala.