Matthew, Chapter 15

Matt. 15:21-28

Matt. 15:21 "Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 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. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."

The woman who came to Jesus was of Canaan, which indicates that she was not a Jew or an Israelite. Her citizenship was not of the nation of Israel. This woman had previously been to the disciples and they had apparently rejected her as she was not an Israelite. The woman had a daughter who was grievously vexed with a devil. She cried out unto the Lord for mercy and referred to him as Lord and as the son of David. The question before us is, "What right did this Canaanite woman have in Israel's God and in the king of Israel (Son of David) and in the covenant blessing to Israel?" Apparently, these Jewish disciples did not think she had any right as they appealed to Jesus to "Send her away; for she crieth after us."

There is no doubt the woman was sore vexed and desperate for her daughter, but she was not of the nation of Israel. At first glance, it appeared that the Lord had rejected her also as he said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In addition, he told her, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs." The Jews considered the Gentiles to be dogs and not worthy of eating at their table. The woman's answer showed us why she could rightfully call Jesus Lord and the son of David and also the right she had to partake of Israel's covenant blessings: "And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." This answer shows us the woman's humility and heart felt unworthiness to partake of the Lord's table, but of her desire to just eat of the crumbs that fall from the table.

We read in Rom. 2:28, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." This woman was not an outward Jew, but she was one inwardly. Furthermore, she did not come from the stock of those circumcised in flesh, yet she exhibited the characteristics of one circumcised in heart by the spirit. She was a spiritual Jew and a spiritual Israelite. Jesus was her king in the kingdom of heaven and she could properly call him Lord.

"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." This, indeed, was a woman of great faith. She showed forth her faith by her actions, and the Lord richly blessed her and healed her daughter.

Matt. 15:29-31

Matt. 15:29 "And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 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: 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."

As we consider the above happenings, our attention is called to the reason the multitudes came to Jesus. They came because of his manifest power in healing the sick. There are multitudes of people who believe in the power of God, but do not understand many of the fundamental truths taught in the scriptures. The conditions of being lame, blind, dumb, maimed, etc. are all conditions that medical science does not seem to have a remedy. In other words, if you are in one of these conditions, then the only hope that you have of overcoming the condition is that God will perform a miracle and heal you.
The people came to see a miracle worker or came hoping to see a miracle performed on them. The multitudes were willing to climb the mountain if they could experience a miracle of healing. The multitudes were not willing to climb the mountain to receive instruction as we saw in chapter 5. Only the disciples will put forth the effort to receive instruction from the Lord.

We also see that the multitude glorified the God of Israel for the miracles that were done. It certainly was right that they do so. We should glorify God as well for many other things. The multitudes are not nearly as ready to glorify God for the other things.
The multitudes bear evidence that they are children of God in that they believe in God and believe in the power of God. However, they do not receive many of the blessings of discipleship as they shun from becoming the true disciples of Jesus.

Matt. 15:32-39

Matt. 15:32 "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. 33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? 34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. 35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. 38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. 39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala."


Once again, we see the Lord manifest his compassion on the multitude as he fed them in the wilderness much as he had done in chapter 14. They had continued with Jesus for three days witnessing and experiences the miracles that Jesus had done on their bodies. No doubt, much rejoicing had taken place over those three days. Miracles can only come through the power of God. God has not promised us healing of the body. It is according to his sovereign will when someone's body is healed. Often we are like Paul, who had prayed earnestly to the Lord three times that a thorn in the flesh might be removed from him, yet the Lord's answer was, "my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

While miracles of physical healing are not very commonplace among us, yet God still manifest a great number of miracles. The feeding of the multitude with seven loaves and a few fishes is no less a miracle of God than the physical healing of the naturally diseased. In similar manner to the natural feeding of the multitude, Jesus feeds his people with spiritual food through the preaching of the gospel.

Just as the natural bread and fishes was blessed of the Lord and broken by the Lord and given to the disciples to distribute to the multitude, so the Lord blesses his word and breaks or opens up to the understanding of the preachers his word, who then in turn feed the waiting multitudes with spiritual food. This daily miracle could not take place except the Lord bless his word and open it to the understanding of his ministry and then bless them to deliver it in power and demonstration of spirit to the multitude. Likewise, the multitude could not receive without the Lord preparing their hearts to receive it.

Just as in chapter 14 a great multitude had eaten of a very small amount of food and were filled and the fragments were gathered and seven baskets were taken up over that which every one had eaten. Again, we are blessed to have spiritual food throughout the week after feasting on the Lord's word through the preaching of the gospel. As is so often the case, we do not see the multitude glorify God for the miraculous feeding of the multitude as they had glorified God for the healing of the natural bodies. We should praise and glorify God for the filling of our souls with spiritual food every time that the gospel is preached and the Lord grants us understanding. It takes just as much the power of God to feed us spiritually as it takes to heal the natural body.