About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 15
verses 2 and 3 the Pharisees come to Jesus with yet another question.
They’re constantly asking Jesus questions in the hopes of finding
fault with Him. This question
concerns matters of the Rabbinical Laws, which is not the Law of Moses,
but their own Laws set up to help the Jews better understand and obey the
Law of Moses. The problem with
this is that they have burdened the Jewish people down with so many laws
that weren’t established by God in the first place that their religion
has become mostly humanistic in nature.
Law in question here as noted by the Pharisees’ question concerns the
washing of one’s hands before eating.
This was a Jewish tradition based on Rabbinical Law, not God’s
Law. Jesus’ disciples
apparently were caught eating without washed hands.
verse 3 Jesus responds by saying, “why do you break the command of God
for the sake of your tradition”. Verse
4 tells us what Commandment the Jewish leadership disregarded because of
their own humanistic laws which in one sense of the word were merely laws
to get around God’s Law. The
commandment that Jesus is speaking to is the fourth commandments that
tells the Jews to honor their father and mother.
Yet this command is elaborated upon in Ex. 21:17.
This verse tells us that a child is worthy of death if he disobeys
this fourth command.
Jewish leadership came up with some of their own laws to help soften this
command. They had a law
wherein if parents needed help from an adult child they’d say the word
“corben”. When they said
this, the child was supposed help the parents out in whatever way he
could. Yet if the child
wasn’t on speaking terms with his parents, he wouldn’t really want to
help his parents out. The Jewish leadership came up with a law that said
if a parent calls out “corben” then the children could give money to
the priests instead of helping their parents, something they said would be
acceptable to God, but something Jesus says is actually disregarding the
fourth command, and certainly God would not be pleased with that.
shows us how Jesus feels about the traditions of men when they come in
conflict with the ways of God. He
is not happy with this in the least. This
is something we should think seriously about as the church.
Do we allow any of our traditions to nullify the things God would
want us to do?
verse 7 Jesus calls the Pharisees “hypocrites”.
Jesus is not afraid to call people for what they really are.
interesting that Jesus refers to Isaiah 29:13 and says that it refers to
these Pharisees that were presently alive in that day.
Without going into detail, this shows us a bit how Jesus viewed and
used the Old Testament prophecies.
in verse 8 Jesus uses Isaiah’s words when He says, “this people honors
me with their lips but their hearts are far from me”.
This was exactly what the Pharisees were doing.
They were merely giving lips service to God.
What they were really doing was following their own ways, their own
laws, and leaving their God out of their lives.
much talk about God in our society today but most of it is simply lips
service. People’s lives do
not reflect a life of dedication to Jesus.
goes on to say in verse 9, as He quotes further from Isaiah that they
worship God in vain and their rules are just traditions of men.
If we only offer lip service to God, and not follow through with a
godly life, then in the eyes of Jesus, all we do in the name of our
religion is in vain, is worthless. It
has no significance to God.
in verses 10 and 11 Jesus
begins to take what just happened with the Pharisees and turned it into a
teaching lesson. He calls the
crowd to Himself and tells them that it’s not what goes into a man’s
mouth that defiles him. It’s
the words that we speak that defile us.
is actually shedding some light on how God His Father actually thinks
concerning clean and unclean foods that were well established in the Law
of God from the Old Testament. What
Jesus was in fact saying is that all along the real thing that defiled a
man in the eyes of God was not that which he ate, but that which he said.
And the Pharisees were saying many things that were defiling them in the
eyes of God. The
things that were coming from their mouths were purely hypocritical.
12 is a little humorous to me. The
disciples come to Jesus in private and ask Him if He realized that the
Pharisees were offended by what He told them, as if Jesus might not have
known this. I’m sure Jesus
knew that the Pharisees were offended by His words, but that did not
matter to Him.
very fact that the disciples came to Jesus with questions tells me that
they were a little taken back by Jesus’ words.
They themselves probably did not want to offend the Jewish leaders.
The average Jew benefited greatly from the social Jewish system
that had been set up. If for
some reason the Jewish leadership felt that they should expel you from the
synagogue, this would mean that the you would lose the social welfare
privileges associated with the synagogue.
verse 13 Jesus responds by saying that “every plant that my Father has
not planted will be pulled up”. We’ve
seen from Jesus’ parables that plants that are pulled up are burned in
the fire, as in the fire of God’s judgment.
Jesus is saying that the Pharisees and the traditions that
they’ve established among the Jews were not planted by God and that one
day all of this would be pulled up and burned.
verse 14 Jesus tells the disciples to “leave them”, meaning, “leave
their leaders”. He says that
they’re just blind guides leading blind people, and both the guides and
the people would fall away at some point.
In simple terms Jesus was telling the disciples not to worry about
the Pharisees. He was telling them to ignore them and to forget about
them, and not to waste their time with them.
They were a helpless cause. The
disciples had better things to do.
tells me that the systems of men eventually fail.
They don’t last forever, and if some do reach to the end of this
age, they’ll be burned in the fire of God’s judgment at the
verse 15 we see that Peter asks Jesus to explain the parable to them.
You can see by this, that they did not understand the parables of
Jesus as clearly as they could have.
responds in verse 16 by asking, “are you still so dull”.
That is to say, “is your ability to understand so dull and
clouded that you need to ask me what I’m talking about”?
understandable to me why Peter would ask such a question.
They were used to thinking in terms of certain food being clean and
oaky to eat, while other foods were unclean and not fit to eat.
verse 18 to 21 Jesus explains what he is talking about when he refers to
what comes into a man’s body and what comes out of his mouth.
It’s simple and logical. Any
food that a man eats gets put into his mouth and the residue is expelled.
But the things that come out of a man’s mouth, as in his words,
don’t come from his stomach, but his heart.
verse 19 Jesus lists a few sins that come out of man’s evil heart.
We also know from what Jesus says elsewhere that what is in a
man’s heart will sooner or later come out of his mouth.
Therefore you can tell what is important to people by what they
note here that Jesus is basically saying that our hearts are evil,
something that God through the prophets has said all along.
Jesus does not view us as okay, as in the tile of the book,
“You’re Okay – I’m Okay”. He
views mankind as being far from okay.
verse 20 Jesus just comes out and says it. Eating food really doesn’t
make you unclean. What people
say and do makes them unclean. This
would be very hard for the Pharisees to take, and hard to for the
disciples to get their head around. Jews
were so engrained to think that certain foods were wrong to eat.
verse 20 Jesus leaves for
verse 22 we see that a Canaanite woman came running up to Jesus and crying
out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.
My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession”.
This lady was not a Jew, but Jesus did not turn away anyone because
of their nationality. We know
that Jesus’ main purpose of ministry was to the Jew, but He certainly
had compassion and love for all people.
lady called Jesus both “Lord” and the “Son of David”.
The title Lord would associate Jesus with the one and only true
God, the God of Israel. The
Son of David is a Messianic term associated Jesus to the lineage of David
from which the Messiah would come to redeem
light of what I’ve just said you might think that Jesus’ reply to this
lady doesn’t correlate. The
fact of the matter is that He did not reply to her.
He ignored her.
response to the woman’s constant crying out, and Jesus not paying
attention to her, some of the disciples urged Jesus to send her away as if
she was bugging them unnecessarily.
24 confirms the fact that Jesus was sent mainly to the Jews when Jesus
said that He “was sent to the lost sheep of
verse 25 the woman falls at Jesus’ feet and begs for help.
She is desperate. I’m
sure she had to push her way past the disciples to even get to Jesus.
finally responds in verse 26 by saying that it wasn’t right to take the
children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.
We need to understand something about dogs here.
The Greek word used for dogs is actually “little dogs”.
There were two types of dogs in those days, little dogs that were
pets, and big dogs that roamed the streets as scavengers.
was saying that it wasn’t right to take food away from children and give
it to their pet dogs who sat by the table.
A side note here is that the Jews viewed Gentiles as big dogs,
meaning scavengers who roamed the streets.
didn’t come right out and say what He was thinking.
He disguised it somewhat in this analogy, something this lady
understood. It is clear that
this lady understood Jewish thinking because in verse 27 she replies by
saying, “yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their
master’s table”. In her
desperate humility she came to Jesus.
verse 28 Jesus recognizes her “great faith”.
Great faith here doesn’t mean lots of faith as is if faith is
some kind of commodity that you can get more of.
Great faith means simple trust.
This lady trusted that Jesus had the ability to heal her daughter
and she kept asking for His
although Jesus came to the Jews, He certainly didn’t turn Gentiles away,
and my guess is that He had a reason for the delay in helping this woman.
I think Jesus was trying to make a point here.
He wanted those around to understand the priority of His mission
was to the Jews, but not at the expense of the Gentiles.
And even healing this woman’s daughter gives us a hint of better
things to come when Gentiles would be welcomed into the family of God.
that Jesus healed the daughter. There’s
no reference to Him casting a demon out of her.
This would suggest that demons leave when they are cast out and
they leave at the word of healing.
verse 29 we see Jesus leave the coast and go back to the
goes back to a mountain-side over looking the sea.
This might well be the same mountain-side that he fed the five
thousand. It appears that
Jesus liked this particular mountain-side. Once again, when people knew
that He was there, the crowds gathered around Him.
verses 30 and 31 we see the crowds bring all kinds of sick people to Jesus
for Him to heal. Once again,
we assume with good reason, that Jesus healed them all.
The crowds were amazed as they normally were and praised God as a
is clear to me that Jesus healed all those that came to Him whether they
had faith or not. Many of
these people, if not most, were simply coming to Jesus for what they could
get from Him. He had
compassion on them anyway. The
only time when He would not perform a miracle is when the Jewish
leadership demanded Him to. He
would not bend to the pressure from hypocrites. The
masses of ordinary people were different though.
Jesus had compassion on them because He viewed them as sheep
without a shepherd. Their
shepherds were the Jewish leadership but they weren’t shepherding the
people as they should, and that’s
another reason why Jesus wouldn’t submit to their pressure.
32 specifically says that Jesus had compassion on this crowd.
It also tells us that the crowd was there for three days.
This meant that Jesus had been teaching and healing people for
three days straight. Any food
that anyone might have brought, including the disciples was now gone, and
like the time with the feeding of the five thousand men. Jesus did not
want to send these people away hungry.
I can well imagine that Jesus is not impressed with starving people
throughout the world when there’s lots of food to feed these people.
verse 33 the disciples respond to Jesus by asking him where they might get
enough food to feed these people. It
was most likely an impossibility. The
disciples might well have been suggesting that Jesus was asking or
suggesting an impossibility, and why even think about feeding them.
in verse 34 Jesus asks the disciples how many loaves of bread they had and
they replied that they had seven loaves and a few fish. You might wonder
at this point if the disciples would not have clued in on what was going
to happen since not too many days earlier they had gone through a similar
verse 35 to 39 we have the exact same situation as we did with the feeding
of the five thousand men plus women and children.
Jesus had the people sit down. He gave thanks to God for the food,
and the disciples distributed the food and had seven baskets left over.
Then Jesus sent the crowd on its way and Jesus got in a boat and
crossed the sea. This time
there were four thousand men, plus women and children.