top of page

Matthew 15

Dig Deeper:

THE DISCIPLES ARE NOT COVID-IOTS: The Pharisees were not concerned with the disciple's hygiene when they accused them of not washing their hands before eating. This is just another instance of how the Pharisees would take God's law (Torah) handed down in the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) and add even more regulations to it. The priests were obligated to wash their hands in a certain way to maintain ceremonial cleanliness (Ex. 30:17-21), but the Pharisees had extended that regulation to apply to every Israelite, missing the point that God had intended with the ritual in the first place.

CONVENIENT TAX / TITHE SHELTER: Another Old Testament law that was being abused was what was called Corvid. Since the Israelites were tithed based on their income, not unlike our tax system, many people would set aside vast sums of money to 'care for their parents' (v5-6). These sums, called Corvid, did not count towards their income, and thus they did not have to pay a tithe on it. Essentially, this practice used God's law to help God's people steal from God.

The Pharisees had turned God's law into an idol, and Jesus has no tolerance for it.

CRINGE WORTHY? When we read this in our present culture, it seems Jesus comes across as sexist & xenophobic in the way He responds to the Canaanite woman in v21-26. However, when we take a broader perspective, it soon becomes apparent that this is nowhere close to the truth. We know that Jesus holds women in very high regard based on the significant roles they play in His ministry. We also get a clue from how the very Jewish author Matthew refers to her: not just a Gentile, but a Canaanite - the people that God had evicted from the Promised Land (the Gentile gospel writer Mark referred to her as Syro-Phonecian, which is the same thing expressed much differently). Furthermore, Jesus is not insulting her by referring to the dogs taking the children's bread. Once again, a cultural idiom was being used that doesn't translate well (although it is very clear that Jesus is very much against feeding dogs from the table).

Although Jesus makes it clear that salvation is first offered to the Jews, what happens next is nothing short of amazing. Once again, a Gentile's faith stands in stark contrast to the lack of faith displayed by the Jews. Not only does Jesus grant her request made in faith, he then travels out to Gentile territory and feeds a large crowd there just as He did in Israel (interestingly, the Jewish Matthew doesn't record the location of this feeding, we have to rely on Mark's account for that little detail).

There is one thing that does stand out in Matthew's account, showing how all of the sudden these Gentile sheep were being brought into the fold of the God of Israel:

The people were amazed... and the praised the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people..." (v31-32).

Prayer Tips:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The great God of Israel who has now called all people to Him.

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Honor God with both your lips and your hearts, and do not follow the teachings of men (v8-9 / Isaiah 29:13).




Listen To:

drive-faith logo - blue.png

Curated Reformed Podcasts - Updated daily

bottom of page