The Gospel of Matthew
"E. Schuyler English: The Gospel According to Matthew"
The Book of MATTHEW
The religious Jews believed, and still believe, that there were two sets of laws given to Moses on Mt. Sinai: One, the written law, and the other, the oral law. The oral law was handed down by word from generation to generation until finally it was transcribed, and is called the Talmud. In the Talmud are found many additions to the law as given to Moses, and it was on this that the scribes and Pharisees based their question about the washing of the hands. But the Lord saw into their hearts: He knew that they interrogated Him only to trap Him, and by His question He turned the tables on 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. ..." The Jews had added to the law of God by saying a son had to support and clothe his father and mother, but the Jews also found a way out. It was necessary only to say "Corban," that is, they dedicated to the temple whatever they should have given to their parents, their possessions or themselves, and they were released from any obligation. "Ye hypocrites!" How the Lord hates hypocrisy, lip worship, not life worship. May we search our own hearts, and pray that our worship of our Lord is from the heart, in Spirit and in truth. Matt. 15:21-31
"Then Jesus went thence, and departed unto 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 demon. But He answered her not a word." Why did the Lord pay no attention to this woman of Canaan? We know Him; we know He is full of compassion; we know that He always hears those who call to Him, and that during His life on earth He heard all them that were brought to Him. He did not answer just because of His compassion. Canaan was the enemy of Israel. This woman appealed to Him as the Son of David, the King of Israel. When the rightful King of Israel sits upon the throne of David, "in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 14:21). As the Son of David His only action with her must have been judgment. So, in His mercy and grace, when the disciples asked Him to send her away, He said (so that she could hear, we may be sure): "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." "He speaks; of course, as the Son of David, and oh! how wonderful is this word, though it has been often declared as harsh. He puts her, so to speak, in the right path to receive the blessing. It is one little word around which all is centered. The little word is lost. He gave her thus to understand He had come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and if they were lost and need a Saviour, how much more she, a Canaanite? And it is this word, lost, which faith lays hold upon, and through which she is enabled to draw near and ask His help simply as a needy one" (A.C. Gaebelein). She heard, and immediately, recognizing her own worthlessness, she cried, saying, "Lord, help me." You see; it was grace that kept Him from answering the first time; it was grace that led Him to meet her need the second time. He tested her a little more, to see if she was willing to admit her utter dependence upon Him; then in loving mercy He lifted her up: "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." And her daughter was made whole at the very hour. It is His great desire that we come to Him as did the woman of Canaan, in the knowledge that we are lost sinners, apart from His grace. Then He will have mercy on us and bring us salvation. It may be that at times we shall be tested, but if we survive as did this Canaanite woman, we shall some day hear Him say: "Great is thy faith."
Then Jesus departed and came to the sea of Galilee, and multitudes of lame, and blind and dumb were brought to Him, and He healed them. The multitudes wondered, and they glorified God. It was not a lasting worship, but when He comes again in power to His people Israel, and establishes His Kingdom, they shall see Him and wonder and glorify God forever, and there will be peace on earth.
The lessons that we learned from the feeding of the five thousand in the preceding chapter may be applied to this miracle, too, so we will pass over it without comment.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul."