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The Fourfold Gospel

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15:1  Then there come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes1, saying,

    JESUS FAILS TO ATTEND THE THIRD PASSOVER: SCRIBES REPROACH HIM FOR DISREGARDING TRADITION. (Galilee, probably Capernaum, Spring A.D. 29.) Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23; John 7:1

  1. Then there come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes. See Mark 7:1.

15:2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders1? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

  1. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? See Mark 7:3.

15:3  And he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition1?

  1. Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? See Mark 7:8.

15:4  For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death.

  1. Honour thy father and thy mother, etc. See Mark 7:10.

15:5  But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother1, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is given [to God];

  1. Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, etc. See Mark 7:11.

15:6  he shall not honor his father. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition1.

  1. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. See Mark 7:13.

15:7  Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you1, saying,

    Matthew 15:7-9

  1. Well did Isaiah prophesy of you. See Mark 7:6.

15:10  And he called to him the multitude1, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

  1. And he called to him the multitude. See Mark 7:14.

15:12  Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying1?

  1. Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying? The entire speech offended them. He charged them with hypocrisy. He showed that their tradition, which they reverenced as a revelation from God, led them into sin, and he disturbed their self-complacency by showing that the ceremonial cleanness, which was founded on tradition, and in which they prided themselves, was worthless in comparison with the moral cleanness required by God's law, which they had ignored. It grieved the disciples to see Jesus offend these reverend gentlemen from Jerusalem. Like many modern disciples their respect for men counteracted their zeal for truth.

15:13  But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up.

  1. Every plant which my heavenly Father hath planted not, shall be up rooted. God had planted the law with its doctrine: he had planted the Hebrew religion as given by Moses. He had not planted the tradition of the elders; so it, and the religion founded upon it, was doomed to be rooted up.

15:14  Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit1.

  1. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit. This proverbial expression is found in the Sermon on the Mount. See Luke 6:39. There it taught that the disciple could expect to attain no higher felicity than his teacher. Here it teaches the lesson of patience, and is akin to the words of David, which begin, "Fret not thyself because of evil doers" (Psalms 37:1,2). The words of Jesus are full of encouragement to those who adhere to the simple teachings of God; for they show that God guarantees that every error shall be uprooted, and that every teacher of error or false religion shall participate in the judgment which uproots, and shall fall into the pit of ruin; and his disciples, no matter how numerous, shall share his fate. In this particular instance, the destruction of Jerusalem was the pit. The Jewish leaders led their disciples into it, and God uprooted their system of tradition, that the pure gospel might be sowed in the room which they occupied.

15:21  And Jesus went out thence, and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon1.

    SECOND WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY. Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24

  1. And Jesus went out thence, and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. See Mark 7:24.

15:22  And behold, a Canaanitish woman1 came out from those borders2, and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David3; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.

    HEALING A PHOENICIAN WOMAN'S DAUGHTER. (Region of Tyre and Sidon.) Matthew 15:22-28; Mark 7:25-30

  1. And behold, a Canaanitish woman. See Mark 7:26.

  2. Came out from those borders. This does not mean, as some construe it, that she crossed over into Galilee from Phoenicia; it means that she came out of the very region "where Jesus then was".

  3. Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David. Sympathy so identified her with her daughter that she asked mercy for herself. The title "son of David" shows that the Jewish hopes had spread to surrounding nations and that some, like this woman and the one at Jacob's well, expected to share in the Messianic blessing.

15:23  But he answered her not a word1. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us2.

  1. But he answered her not a word. God's unanswering silence is a severe test of our faith.

  2. Send her away; for she crieth after us. The woman by her loud entreaties was drawing to Jesus the very attention which he sought to avoid. The disciples therefore counseled him to grant her request for his own sake--not for mercy or compassion, but merely to be rid of her.

15:24  But he answered1 and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel2.

  1. But he answered. Answered his disciples, not the woman.

  2. I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus had not forborne answering her prayers through lack of feeling, but from principle. It was part of the divine plan that his "personal" ministry should be confined to the Jewish people. Divine wisdom approved of this course as best, not only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well. Variations from this plan were to be few and were to be granted only as rewards to those of exceptional faith. Also see Matthew 10:6.

15:25  But she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

  1. Then came she and worshipped him. See Mark 7:25.

15:26  And he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs1.

  1. It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs. See Mark 7:27.

15:27  But she said, Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table1.

  1. For even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. See Mark 7:28.

15:28  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith1: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was healed from that hour.

  1. O woman, great is thy faith. See Mark 7:29.

  2. Her daughter was made well from that hour. See Mark 7:30.

15:29  And Jesus departed thence1, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and he went up into the mountain, and sat there.

    ANOTHER AVOIDING OF HEROD'S TERRITORY. Matthew 15:29; Mark 7:31

  1. And Jesus departed thence, etc. See Mark 7:31.

15:30  And there came unto him great multitudes1, having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and they cast them down at this feet; and he healed them:

    THE DEAF STAMMERER HEALED AND FOUR THOUSAND FED. Mark ; Matthew 15:30-38; Mark 7:328:9

  1. And there came unto him great multitudes. etc. We have here an instance of the common difference between the narratives of Matthew and Mark. Where Matthew is wont to mention the healing of multitudes, Mark picks out one of the most remarkable cases and describes it minutely. The hasty action of those who brought in the sick and returned to bring in others is indicated by the way in which they cast down their burdens at Jesus' feet.

15:31  insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, and lame walking, and the blind seeing: and they glorified the God of Israel1.

  1. They glorified the God of Israel. The people whom Jesus healed were Jews, but daily intercourse with the heathen of Decapolis had tended to cool their religious ardor. The works of Jesus revived this ardor and caused them to praise the God whose prophet they esteemed Jesus to be.

15:32  And Jesus called unto him his disciples1, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat2: and I would not send them away fasting, lest haply they faint on the way.

  1. And Jesus called unto him his disciples. See Mark 8:1.

  2. They continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat. See Mark 8:2.

15:33  And the disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so many loaves in a desert place as to fill so great a multitude?

  1. Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in a desert place? See Mark 8:4.

15:35  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground;

  1. And he commanded the multitude to sit on the ground. See Mark 8:6.

15:39  And he sent away the multitudes, and entered into the boat, and came into the borders of Magadan.

    THIRD WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY. A. PHARISAIC LEAVEN. A BLIND MAN HEALED. Matthew 15:39-16:12; Mark 8:10-26

  1. And came into the borders of Magdala. See Mark 8:10.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 15". "The Fourfold Gospel". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=015>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  

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