Matthew 15

* Jesus discourses about human traditions. (1-9) He warns

against things which really defile. (10-20) He heals the

daughter of a Syrophenician woman. (21-28) Jesus heals the sick,

and miraculously feeds four thousand. (29-39)

1-9 Additions to God's laws reflect upon his wisdom, as if he

had left out something which was needed, and which man could

supply; in one way or other they always lead men to disobey God.

How thankful ought we to be for the written word of God! Never

let us think that the religion of the Bible can be improved by

any human addition, either in doctrine or practice. Our blessed

Lord spoke of their traditions as inventions of their own, and

pointed out one instance in which this was very clear, that of

their transgressing the fifth commandment. When a parent's wants

called for assistance, they pleaded, that they had devoted to

the temple all they could spare, even though they did not part

with it, and therefore their parents must expect nothing from

them. This was making the command of God of no effect. The doom

of hypocrites is put in a little compass; "In vain do they

worship me." It will neither please God, nor profit themselves;

they trust in vanity, and vanity will be their recompence.
10-20 Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, was

not from what entered their mouths as food, but from what came

out of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of their

hearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regenerating

graces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted into

the church but what is from above; therefore, whoever is

offended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, we

should not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be better

taught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerning

any word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek for

instruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, #Jer

17:9|, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first

in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of

that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there.

When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and

wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble

themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened

for sin and uncleanness.
21-28 The dark corners of the country, the most remote, shall

share Christ's influences; afterwards the ends of the earth

shall see his salvation. The distress and trouble of her family

brought a woman to Christ; and though it is need that drives us

to Christ, yet we shall not therefore be driven from him. She

did not limit Christ to any particular instance of mercy, but

mercy, mercy, is what she begged for: she pleads not merit, but

depends upon mercy. It is the duty of parents to pray for their

children, and to be earnest in prayer for them, especially for

their souls. Have you a son, a daughter, grievously vexed with a

proud devil, an unclean devil, a malicious devil, led captive by

him at his will? this is a case more deplorable than that of

bodily possession, and you must bring them by faith and prayer

to Christ, who alone is able to heal them. Many methods of

Christ's providence, especially of his grace, in dealing with

his people, which are dark and perplexing, may be explained by

this story, which teaches that there may be love in Christ's

heart while there are frowns in his face; and it encourages us,

though he seems ready to slay us, yet to trust in him. Those

whom Christ intends most to honour, he humbles to feel their own

unworthiness. A proud, unhumbled heart would not have borne

this; but she turned it into an argument to support her request.

The state of this woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner,

deeply conscious of the misery of his soul. The least of Christ

is precious to a believer, even the very crumbs of the Bread of

life. Of all graces, faith honours Christ most; therefore of all

graces Christ honours faith most. He cured her daughter. He

spake, and it was done. From hence let such as seek help from

the Lord, and receive no gracious answer, learn to turn even

their unworthiness and discouragements into pleas for mercy.
29-39 Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and

relief, is to lay it at Christ's feet, to submit it to him, and

refer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healing

from Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin has

made; what various diseases human bodies are subject to. Here

were such diseases as fancy could neither guess the cause nor

the cure of, yet these were subject to the command of Christ.

The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blind

souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the

maimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be

wondered at. His power was also shown to the multitude, in the

plentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much the

same as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christ

feeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and to

spare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for those

that seek for more. Christ sent away the people. Though he had

fed them twice, they must not look for miracles to find their

daily bread. Let them go home to their callings and their own

tables. Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief,

teaching us to live upon thy fulness and bounty, for all things

pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.
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