NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
We just finished the very informative and enlightening 15th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus’ fame had spread from the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the walls of Jerusalem. The religious leaders there, knowing very little, if anything, about this unknown, upstart prophet who they started hearing the term “Messiah” being attached to His name, sent Pharisees to inquire about Him and the claims being made about Him.
Upon their encounter in a wheat field just outside Capernaum, the Pharisees saw an opportunity to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking the verbal law of the elders by not washing their hands properly. But Jesus turned the conversation back on them and their breaking the law of God when it came to honoring one’s father and mother. Jesus then uses this to teach them the important lesson on the difference between being clean on the outside and clean on the inside.
Then, for the first time, Jesus adventures outside His beloved Galilee on a divine mission to meet a woman with a daughter suffering from demonic oppression. Here, He had a two-fold mission. One, to show His disciples and followers how much faith there was among the non-Jews who lived in the area known as Phoenicia, and two, to teach them that if the Jews did not accept Him as the Messiah they would remain lost like wandering sheep, while the rest of the world would be invited into the Kingdom of Heaven as sons and daughters of God.
When they got back to Galilee and its familiar shores, Jesus once again took the opportunity to feed a multitude of people with a small amount of food. He thought that after feeding a crowd of 5,000 with five small flatbreads and two sardines His disciples might have enough faith that He could feed 4,000 with seven flatbreads and several sardines. But they failed the test again.
This time, however, instead of sending them away in a boat with the promise to catch up with them, He boarded the boat with them and sailed to the other side of the sea to a place called Magdala. Here the news spread of His being there and people streamed to Him if only to touch the hem of his coat for healing. But among them were the Pharisees and Sadducees, just waiting to try and catch Him violating the law or teaching some heresy so they could expose Him as a fraud and not the Messiah.
So we can see that the life of Jesus was not easy. He faced a lot of opposition and doubt, even among His own disciples. But He did not give up, and He did it all for you and me. That’s why we must keep on with His story. So next week we start in Chapter 16, where some very important truths will be revealed. One of which must have wounded the hearts of His followers as soon as they heard it.
Thank you again for your unfailing devotion to God’s Word. And may the Lord bless you as you hunger and thirst after more knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ.