Matthew 15:29-16:4 – June 14, 2020
Who Believes, Who Has Faith
Three Keys 1) First a Centurion in Capernaum, small Jewish fishing and agricultural community on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:5-13)
2) Next a Jewish man in the Jewish area of Galilee in a synagogue with a shriveled hand was healed on the Sabbath whereupon the Pharisees plotted to kill Him. This led Matthew 12:17-21 to quote from Isaiah 42 which ends ‘In His name the Nations will put their hope’
3) The Canaanite woman, Matthew 15:21-28, in the Gentile area of Tyre and Sidon where Jesus eventually declares “Woman you have Great Faith! Your request is granted.”
15:29-31 Jesus heals Gentiles. Where is Jesus now? He is in Gentile Greek area of Decapolis on the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. What is He doing there? He is healing Gentiles and I believe Matthew 11:5 is applicable here as well The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Not only were Gentiles being healed the good news was being proclaimed to them! Beyond the location how do we know they were Gentiles? At the end of v31 They praised the God of Israel, not Yahweh, but the God of Israel.
15:32-39 Jesus feeds 4,000. Let’s talk about the differences between feeding the 4,000 and feeding the 5,000. The major difference is location, location, location which leads to the real difference people, people, people.
Feeding of the 5,000. In this miracle, Jesus takes five loves and feeds five thousand, which is suggestive of the five books of the Jewish Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Plus when everyone had finished eating, twelve baskets of left-overs were collected, which was likely alluding to the twelve tribes of Israel.
The feeding of 5,000 was more Jewish in its nature. It happened near Passover time and there were 12 baskets left over. It symbolized that Jesus, the Bread of Life, was sufficient to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the 12 tribes of Israel, represented by the 12 baskets. The Feeding of the 5000 is the only pre-resurrection miracle to be included in all four gospels, and you have to read all four accounts to get the full impact.
Feeding of the 4,000. In this second miracle, seven loaves are used and seven baskets are collected. The number seven is symbolic of completeness (i.e. not just Jews but Gentiles too) and the number seven is indicative of the seven days of creation when God created all humanity. Four is the number of the Earth because by day 4 the creation of Earth was complete
The Feeding of the 4000 is contained only in Matt. and Mark and like the 5000 includes a mass healing. It’s more for the Gentiles, four being the number of the Earth and the 7 baskets left over, combined with the healing, shows Jesus’ divine ability to completely meet the needs of all the Earth.
Afterwards Jesus returns to Jewish territory
16:1-4 The Pharisees and the Sadducees. How different were the Pharisees and the Sadducees? The Pharisees were not a political party and were prepared to live under any government that would leave them alone to practice their religion the way they wanted to; the Sadducees were aristocrats and collaborated with the Romans to keep their wealth and power.
‘Adulterous’ signifies a generation that is not in close touch with God, and is not truly seeking after God. Their minds are on other things, such as their own teaching and cleverness and self-importance. To such people no sign was given, because they are unable to discern the true signs. Why, for those ready to see them, did not signs already abound? The problem lay not in Jesus’ unwillingness to give signs, but in their inability to receive them. Those who will not respond to the signs that He has given have revealed themselves as not fit to be given any signs.
As in 15:14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
BOTTOM LINE: Jesus is real. He revealed Himself not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles. His compassion knows no bounds. He will come to anyone who has faith. But those who chose to led by the blind are also blind.