Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 15:1 - 15:39

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 15:1 - 15:39


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Mat_15:1. Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

Our Lord had been busily engaged in healing the sick, and now these pettifoggers came round about him to try and worry him. They were a kind of mosquito swarm to Christ, had he not been a perfect man they might have worried him.

Mat_15:2. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

“Why do thy disciples transgress the traditions of the elders? “ Generally a good man is held responsible for the acts of his followers. If they cannot find fault with Christ they will find fault with his disciples, who must have been men of admirable character when even scribes and Pharisees had no worse charge to bring than the following: “ For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” The Saviour must have been gentle, indeed, to bear with such people as these, it would have given us the fidgets to have such folks round about us. Here is he healing the sick, curing the lepers, feeding the hungry, and these people are talking about washing their hands. Oh! how many religious people there are that are occupying their time about nothing of vital importance at all, questions of washing their hands or something of that kind.

Mat_15:3. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

He did not deign to answer their question, but posed them with another.

Mat_15:4-6. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

They actually taught that a man might escape the happy duty of succoring his father and mother, the first duty surely of a son, by saying, “ I have dedicated so much of my goods to the Temple and the worship of God that I cannot afford it.” There as not many in these days that talk that way; they generally cannot afford to dedicate anything to the Temple because they are keeping their father and mother, they go the other way but one way or another, men will if possible escape from moral or religious duty. Now God loves not that we should bring one duty to him smeared with the blood of another, and for a man to give his money to the Temple which he ought to have given to his father and mother was a violation of the strict law of God, and could not possibly be acceptable to him. Thus they made void the law of God by their traditions.

Mat_15:7-9. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.

Christ spoke very plainly to them, there is no dealing with hypocrites with kid gloves; these nettles must be boldly grasped, and the Saviour did so. Brethren, stick to the Scriptures in doctrine and in precept; what have you to do with modern thought, the imaginations of men, the vain thoughts of crazy brains. Hold you to God’s thoughts, which are as high above men’s thoughts as the heavens are above the earth. One word of God is worth a whole world full of the thoughts of men, and time shall show us yet that it is so. We have but to wait, and we shall see that the thoughts of man are vanity, but the word of God abideth for ever. “ And he called the multitude”-one of the finest ways of rebuking the Pharisees and scribes-he seemed to turn his back on there gentlemen who knew so much.

Mat_15:10-11. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Religion stands not in meats and drinks and divers washings or anything external: it lies in the heart; it is that which comes out of the heart that is the true index of the character, not that which is done externally.

Mat_15:12-13. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

They stand like a grove of trees, men take shelter under their great knowledge, but God never planted them; and therefore they shall be plucked up; and he did pluck them up without ceremony.

Mat_15:14. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

So you need not trouble to shove them in, you let them alone, it will come to an end. There are some forms of error which Christ may denounce, but which his disciples had better let alone, there is a ditch ready and waiting for them somewhere or other.

Mat_15:15-20. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

By-and-bye in the chapter we shall see thousands of people eating with unwashen hands, who could not have eaten at all, if it had been requisite first for them to wash their hands, for they were in a desert place. Not but what it is well even to wash the hands and every other part of the flesh. It should be true of every Christian, “Having your bodies washed with pure water, “ cleanliness should always go with godliness. But this was a mere ceremonial rite, a washing of the hands whether they wanted it or not for form’s sake, and the Saviour pours contempt upon it.

Mat_15:21-22. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 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.

He made a long journey to go and meet one woman. An instance of how far you and I ought to be willing to go to save a soul. “ And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts.” She came a little way but he had come a long way. Perhaps some sinner has come here today as, Christ has come too. The woman “ cried unto him.” Sinners and the Saviour will meet; for the sinners are seeking Him and they will perhaps meet sooner than they expect. Perhaps she meant to have gone a long journey, but he met her, and she cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me O Lord, Thou Son of David.” She knew his Deity, “ O Lord. ‘ She knew his humanity, “ The Son of David.” She knew his royalty, “ The Son of David.” She had but one prayer, ‘ Have mercy on me.” That prayer suits me very well too, today; is it too humble for you? I pity you then. “ Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David.” And yet her prayer was not for herself. “ Have mercy on me, for my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” Many a mother feels that the greatest mercy to herself would be salvation for her child. How we are wrapped up in these who are the offspring of our body, how we desire their salvation, how careful we should be if they are saved, how should we pray for the children of others, that God would have mercy on mothers by healing daughters. “ But he answered her not a word. “ You may pray, and pray acceptably, and yet not get an immediate answer.

Mat_15:23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciple came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

She makes too much noise. Oh! the poor disciples! “ She crieth after us “That she did not, she cried after the Master, not after them. Oh! the big disciples, how large they are, and how easily troubled. “ She crieth after us.”

Mat_15:24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

My mission as a prophet is to Israel, not to the Gentiles just now.

Mat_15:25-27. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered, and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to the dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.

Splendid faith, to make it out, that to heal her daughter would be after all to Christ nothing but to give her a lot of crumbs! She thought so much of him, he was so great in her estimate that much as she valued the healing of her daughter she reckoned it to be to his royal majesty only as a bit of dog’s food. Oh! splendid faith!

Mat_15:28. 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.

Write, sir, out a blank check, she may fill it in just as she likes, there is no limit to what God will give an unlimited faith. If we limit our faith, then we limit the Holy One of Israel. ‘ And Jesus departed from thence.” He had done his business, he is always on the move but loiters never.

Mat_15:29-30. And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 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:

What an assemblage and in the middle of a great hospital. What a sight for him to see all these sick people carried like so many burdens and then laid down at his feet! Cannot we today each one bring somebody? Think of somebody, some friend of yours, that is yet unsaved. Take him on your back, nay, carry him in your bosom, and bring him by faith and lay him down at Jesus’ feet just now. Who shall it be? Think about it!

Mat_15:31-34. 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 gloried the God of Israel. 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. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to feed so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

And I daresay they thought, “We shall want all these ourselves.” It was noble on their part that they were willing to give away all they had: every bit of it, little fish and loaves and all-none too much for the company, and yet they parted with all at the Easter’s bidding.

Mat_15:36. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

I think I see him rising from the place where he sat, and saying, “ Now you have been standing up and you are all hungry, sit down all of you.” What a sight to see them all dropping into their places. According to Mark they fell into order by rank, by hundreds and by fifties. What a Commander-in-Chief Christ is. When he makes a banquet it is not a scramble, it is always orderly, and when there is anything very disorderly it is generally because Christ is not there, if he is there, everything seems to fit into its place.

Mat_15:36. 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.

“They did all eat and were filled.” I remember a country brother putting it, “ And they did all eat,” which I think is very likely; they were very hungry they did all eat, and were filled; they were ravenous, but they were not stinted.

Mat_15:37; Mat_15:39. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

And if the women and children bore any proportion to most congregations they would make a larger number than the men. And then comes the finish, “And he sent away the multitude.” You and I if we had done this, would have let them stop for an hour while somebody proposed and somebody else seconded a vote of thanks for this good dinner that they had had, but He fed them, and then he sent away the multitude and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala. May we learn Our Lord’s blessed absence of self-seeking!

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 15.; and Psalms 42.



Mat_15:1-14. then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Teacher and taught, Pharisee and disciple, “both shall fall into the ditch.” Great responsibility rests upon the blind leader, but not all of it; for great responsibility also attaches to the blind follower. He should not follow a blind leader, he above all others needs a leader who can see. It is a pity that the man who can see should follow a blind leader; but if a man cannot see at all, then is he doubly unwise if he has a blind leader.

Mat_15:15-16. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

It was not a parable, it was a plain piece of simple language that the Saviour had uttered: “not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

Mat_15:17-18. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught . — But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

It is not that which we eat that defileth us. If it is such food as we ought to take, it builds up the body. If it is improper food, it may injure the body, yet it is not in itself capable of being regarded as sin; but a spiritual thing, — a thought, a desire, an imagination, — - comes out of the heart, and if that is evil, it does defile the man.

Mat_15:19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

What a horrible den the heart itself must be, then! If all these evils come out of it, what a nest of unclean things it must be! A dreadful sight to the all-seeing God must be an uncleansed human heart. Let me read this verse again’ “for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” All these evils come out of the heart of man, out of such a heart as yours until it is renewed by grace. Though you sit very attentively in the house of God, unless his grace has changed your heart, all these evil things are there, and they only want an opportunity to come out. and reveal themselves.

Mat_15:20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unclean hands defileth not a man.

You should understand that the washing here meant was not such as you and I give our hands when we feel that we have soiled them with our labour; then, it is very proper to cleanse them. But this was a ceremonial washing which the scribes and Pharisees would have everybody give, whether his hands were clean or not, before he sat down to meat, and was a mere piece of absurdity, if not something worse. Yet they magnified it into a most important matter, and our Saviour here shows what an idle thing it was.

Mat_15:29-32. And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain and sat down there. 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: 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. 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.

Was not that a most gracious utterance? “I will not send them away fasting” What confidence the disciples ought to have had that the people could be fed, and would be fed, when the Master gave that solemn promise, “I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”

Mat_15:33-34. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye?

That is always a good form of enquiry: “How many loaves have ye?” How much grace have you? How much gift have you? How much ability have you? Are you using it all? Have you consecrated it all to the Master’s service?

Mat_15:34-35. And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

It is very wonderful that they did as he told them; they could not see anything to eat, and yet, when he bade them sit down, they obeyed him, and did so. Thus the Lord prepares men’s hearts for the reception of the Gospel. I do not doubt that, whenever we go forth faithfully to break the read of life, the Lord makes the people sit down in readiness to receive it.

Mat_15:36. 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.

Notice the order of our Lord’s action, thanksgiving first, and then the breaking of the bread. We do not always thank God for what we have already received, but the Lord here sets us the example of giving thanks for what is yet to come. For the multiplied loaves and fishes, he first gives thanks, and then passes them to his disciples to hand to the multitude.

Mat_15:37-39. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he send away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.