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Matthew Chapter Fifteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Lord Jesus Turned to Show Grace to the Gentiles

I. Judaists came to query the Lord for their tradition of the elders and did not submit to His words (v.1-20).

II. The Lord departed to the region of the Gentiles and healed the daughter of the woman of Canaan and many sick persons (v.21-31).

III. The Lord had filled four thousand people by seven loaves and a few little fish and took up seven large baskets full of the fragments (v.32-39).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 15:1 “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,

   YLT: “Then come unto Jesus do they from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees saying,”

Literal Meaning: “the scribes and Pharisees” “Pharisees” were those who emphasized on letters of the Law in Judaism and they considered themselves that they were separated (the meaning of Pharisees) from others. “The scribes” were those who specially transcribed the Law and taught the Law. Usually the Jews called them “rabbi”. Most of the scribes were the Pharisees. However, not all the Pharisees are scribes.

“Who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus” “Jerusalem” is the center of religion and politics of the Jews. They came far away from Jerusalem to find Jesus because they thought the words and deeds of Jesus and His disciples had gone against the teachings of Judaism.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the scribes and Pharisees” symbolizes all the religious believers all over the world, including formalist Christians. “Jerusalem” symbolizes the root of all religions.


Matt. 15:2Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’”

   YLT: “`Wherefore do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they do not wash their hands when they may eat bread.’”

   The Background: “the tradition of the elders” was the annotations and extensions in meaning towards the Law of Moses by famous Law-teachers throughout all ages. These had been preserved in an oral manner and kept strictly by the Pharisees. According to the Law of Moses, priests have to wash their hands and their feet before they enter into the temple to serve (Exod. 30:19). However, the supplementary teachings preserved in oral had extent the commandment towards priests to the details of life of common people, lest men touch unclean things (such as dead body, dead cattle and unclean animals). Therefore they are asked to wash their hands when eating bread. Rabbis always said, “The holy people (Israel) who live in the holy land (Canaan) must speak holy language (Hebrew language) and eat holy food (washing their hands).”

Literal Meaning: “For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” The washing hands that they advocate of is not for cleaning but a religious ceremony.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Today Christianity had accumulated much tradition in the past two thousand years. However it is not obligatory for Christians to obey the tradition.

2) If we stress on the outward regulations and ways, we may become current scribes and Pharisees.


Matt. 15:3 “He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

   YLT: “And he answering said to them, `Wherefore also do ye transgress the command of God because of your tradition?”

Literal Meaning: because they “taught as doctrines the commandment of men” (See v.9), tradition of men was treated higher than commandment of God. Moreover, they abolished commandment of God by tradition of men. They transgressed the commandment of God because of tradition of men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Today many Christians and Catholics neglect many words of God because of keeping the tradition of their assembly.

2) If men add men’s words to God’s words, probably as a result men will transgress the words of God.

3) In the eyes of the Lord, it is not serious to go against teachings of men who is of spiritual and religionists (the tradition of the elders). It is indeed serious to transgress the words of God (the commandment of God).

4) What Christians should obey is God’s words. Any doctrine or teaching should not replace God’s words.


Matt. 15:4 “For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and your mother'; and, He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'

   YLT: “for God did command, saying, Honour thy father and mother; and, He who is speaking evil of father or mother let him die the death;”

   Meaning of Words: “curses”: speak evil of, insult, revile.

Literal Meaning: “let him be put to death.” There are “death” and “die” in original and the “die” means to be ended. The whole sentence means “by death, let him die”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Honor your father and your mother” is the first commandment about interpersonal relationship. Father and mother are the origin of children and this symbolizes that God is the origin of men. God’s intention is to let us honor God by honoring one’s father and mother.

2) It is shown that anyone who curses father or mother must have some problem with God and the result is spiritual death (See Rom. 8:6). 


Matt. 15:5 “But you say, Whoever says to his father or mother, Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God--

   YLT: “but ye say, Whoever may say to father or mother, An offering [is] whatever thou mayest be profited by me;”

   The Background: “a gift” is a dedication with a vow of treasure and it originates from Jephthah’s vow (See Judg. 11:29-40). This kind of dedication with a vow was also called “corban”. The father or mother did not have right to use what had been appointed as “corban” by the owner (See Mark. 7:11).

Literal Meaning: “is a gift” means “whatever has been given to God nominally is not allowed to be used by others”.


Matt. 15:6 “then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

   YLT: “and he may not honour his father or his mother, and ye did set aside the command of God because of your tradition.”

   The Background: some unworthy Judaic believers usually made use of lawful quiddity and vowed a vow to dedicate his family property for the use of the holy temple in order to evade the responsibility to support parents. They regarded themselves as the supervisors of the property and still used the property as usual.

   Spiritual Meaning: “religion of men’s willing” is to abolish “the commandment of God”------God’s words, seasonable words, spirit of truth and everlastingly fresh enlightenments by “tradition of the elders”------words of great men, traditional concepts, vain ceremonies and pedantic conservations.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Pay what is God’s to God, and what is men’s to men. If someone covers his unfilial behaviors by dedication, he makes use of religion to do evil or to cover his evilness.

2) God’s glory is not established on others’ pain. Loving God and loving parents are in complete accord. Religion and morality are inseparable.

3) If one only walks according to regulations, consequently he may go against the intention of God’s words completely (the Law).


Matt. 15:7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

   YLT: “`Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,”

   Meaning of Words: “Hypocrites”: acting, performance.

   The Background: “hypocrites” originates from actors on stage who speak under masks to hide their true features so as to play an assumed character vividly.

Literal Meaning: “well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,” The words in v.8-9 are quoted from Is. 29:13.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) There have been hypocrites among God’s people since ancient times. It is especially so today. 

2) Hypocrisy is not indeed bad but falsely good. However the falsely goodness is even worse.


Matt. 15:8These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

   YLT: “This people doth draw nigh to Me with their mouth, and with the lips it doth honour Me, but their heart is far off from Me;”

Literal Meaning: the feature of religious believers is that they only have the appearance instead of the reality of worshiping God. This condition is shown in that he says what he does not mean: they speak logically and clearly. They only worship God with their mouth but not honor God in their hearts.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God is a spirit, and who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (See John. 4:24). The most important thing in worshiping God is one’s heart instead of only lips.

2) The Lord not only sits down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3) but also dwells in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Therefore what the heavenly people should pay attention to is not the outward ways but the inner real state (See Rom. 2:28-29).


Matt. 15:9 “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandment of men.’”

   YLT: “and in vain do they worship Me, teaching teachings commands of men.’”

Literal Meaning: “Teaching as doctrines the commandment of men”. In this way, men’s opinions replace God’s will and men’s views replace God’s revelations. What they pay attention is not how God speaks but how men speak.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Those that say one thing but mean another thing (See v.8) specially stress that how others think and speak instead of that how God thinks and speaks. It’s no wonder in vain they worship God.

2) “In vain they worship Me.” It shows that worshiping is not always effective and in some cases worshiping may be in vain.

3) It could not satisfy the Lord’s hearts if one holds high spiritual giants and worships and serves according to their instructions.


Matt. 15:10 “When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand:

   YLT: “And having called near the multitude, he said to them, `Hear and understand:”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) What the Lord had said to others is also said to us ------“the multitude”.

2) It is in vain for us to hear but not understand. We should pray to the Lord for ears of hearing and hearts of understanding (See Matt. 13-16).


Matt. 15:11 “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’”

   YLT: “not that which is coming into the mouth doth defile the man, but that which is coming forth from the mouth, this defileth the man.’”

Literal Meaning: “not what goes into the mouth defiles a man;” “what goes into he mouth”: food (See v.17); “defiles a man”: making some “common and unclean” (See Acts. 11:8), i.e. not making someone be “sanctified” (See John. 17:19).

“What comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” “What comes out of the mouth”: thoughts, words and behaviors come out of men’s hearts (See v.18-19).

The scribes and Pharisees originally talked about the problem of clean by “washing hands” (See v.2). Now the Lord Jesus interrogated the problem by “food” to talk about what was indeed clean. The uncleanness in letters is insignificant. What’s significant is the uncleanness in morality.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Religious believers only have physical concepts and ideas of letters instead of spiritual sight. Anyone with spiritual sight knows that the true uncleanness is evil ideas in men’s hearts instead of the impropriety of food and religious ceremonies.

2) In the life in the heavenly kingdom, the uncleanness is not outward but inner appearance, not physical but spiritual.


Matt. 15:12 “Then His disciples came and said to Him, Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’”

   YLT: “Then his disciples having come near, said to him, `Hast thou known that the Pharisees, having heard the word, were stumbled?’”

Literal Meaning: “the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying.” “Offended” shows that they thought the Lord’s words had “offended” them.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) One is unable to hear others’ words with prejudice.

2) Those who live in the visibly material realm are unable to receive the teachings of spiritual things.


Matt. 15:13 “But He answered and said, Every plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

   YLT: “And he answering said, `Every plant that my Heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up;”

   The Background: the Pharisees considered themselves that they were planted by God (See Is. 60:21).

Literal Meaning: “every plant”: every tree in original.

  “Which My Heavenly Father has not planted”: that has been planted by men. This verse has two meanings: 1) the Pharisees; 2) teachings and ways of the Pharisees.

  “Will be uprooted.” “Tradition of the elders” (See v.2) and “commandment of men” (See v.9) are all planted by men and they will be uprooted by God one day.

   Spiritual Meaning: which the Heavenly Father has planted are words of God (See Mark. 4:14) and men of God (See Matt. 13:38, 1Cor. 3:9).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Those who are not chosen by God have neither part nor lot in heavenly kingdom.

2) If our service and work is not of God, it will be of no value one day.

3) Men’s heretical teachings will be uprooted by God some day.


Matt. 15:14 “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.’”

   YLT: “let them alone, guides they are blind of blind; and if blind may guide blind, both into a ditch shall fall.’”

Literal Meaning: “they are blind leaders of the blind.” The blind leaders are the scribes and Pharisees and the blind are the ignorant common people (See Rom. 2:19). Their thoughts all have been blinded by the god of this world, so that they cannot see the light of the glad tidings of the glory of Christ (See 2Cor. 4:3-4).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God’s strategy to those persist in their opinions and obstinately adhere to error is to “let them alone” (See Rom. 1:28).

2) Christians could only help those “who are deceived by heretical teachings” and help them wake up to reality. Christians should not think about helping those “who preach heretical teachings”. To latter ones, we should “let them alone”.

3) Anyone who is unable to discern who is of men or of God is spiritually blind.

4) “They are blind leaders of the blind.” Ignorant ones like to be teachers of others. Those who do not understand the will of God like to preach God’s will to others.

5) Those who have not received revelations do work without revelations and consequently the leader and those who are led all fall into hopeless straits and despair (“fall into a ditch”).


Matt. 15:15 “Then Peter answered and said to Him, Explain this parable to us.’”

   YLT: “And Peter answering said to him, `Explain to us this simile.’”

Literal Meaning: “this parable” is the word of v.11 instead of the word of v.13-14.


Matt. 15:16 “So Jesus said, Are you also still without understanding?

   YLT: “And Jesus said, `Are ye also yet without understanding?”

   Enlightenment in the Word: our hearts are too senseless and slow and therefore we should ask the Lord to open our understanding to “understand” His words (See Luke. 24:25, 45).


Matt. 15:17 “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?

   YLT: “do ye not understand that all that is going into the mouth doth pass into the belly, and into the drain is cast forth?”

Literal Meaning: this verse shows that “whatever enters the mouth” is food.


Matt. 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

   YLT: “but the things coming forth from the mouth from the heart do come forth, and these defile the man;”

Literal Meaning: “and they defile a man” “And” is the tone with emphasis in original.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord’s attention is not on material things but spiritual things. Health counts for little. However, the uncleanness of men’s hearts counts for much.


Matt. 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

   YLT: “for out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, whoredoms, thefts, false witnessings, evil speakings:”

Literal Meaning: “evil thoughts”: evil schemes, the beginning of all men’s sins.

“Murders, adulteries, fornications, false witness” “murders” are against the sixth commandment; “adulteries, fornications” are against the seventh commandment; “thefts” are against the eighth commandment; “false witness” are against the ninth commandment (See Exod. 20:13-16).

“Blasphemies”: the behaviors that someone slanders others’ reputations with words.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) and therefore it need to be cleansed with the washing of water by the Lord’s word (Eph. 5:26).


Matt. 15:20 “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.’”

   YLT: “these are the things defiling the man; but to eat with unwashen hands doth not defile the man.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word: uncleanness of men’s hearts is the root of all evil and uncleanness.


Matt. 15:21 “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

   YLT: “And Jesus having come forth thence, withdrew to the parts of Tyre and Sidon,”

Literal Meaning: “there” is the land of Gennesaret (See Mark. 14:34).

  “Tyre and Sidon” are port cities in the Mediterranean on the north of the Sea of Galilee and in the region of Phoenicia (Lebanon right now) which had been cursed by God (See Is. 23, Joel. 3:4).

   Spiritual Meaning: “the region of Tyre and Sidon” is the land of Gentiles. They symbolize the circumstances which are far away from religious sphere of influence.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord would rather depart to the places which had been cursed by God than be with the hypocritical Pharisees. The Lord would rather show mercy to publicly-known sinners than badger with secret sinners.


Matt. 15:22 “And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.’”

   YLT: “and lo, a woman, a Canaanitess, from those borders having come forth, did call to him, saying, `Deal kindly with me, Sir Son of David; my daughter is miserably demonized.’”

Literal Meaning: “a woman of Canaan.” “Women of Canaan” are pronoun of “the Gentiles” who are despised by the Jews. She was a Greek, Syrophenician by race (See Mark. 7:26).

“The Son of David” is the pronoun of “the Messiah” who is only related to Israel (See v.24). It is wrong for the woman of Canaan to call the Lord “the Son of David”.

   Spiritual Meaning: “a woman of Canaan” represents the Gentiles who want to receive the Lord with their hearts.

  “My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” She gave birth to her “daughter”, showing that life and behaviors that are of natural and flesh life are bound and controlled by the devil (See 1John. 5:19).


Matt. 15:23 “But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, Send her away, for she cries out after us.’”

   YLT: “And he did not answer her a word; and his disciples having come to him, were asking him, saying ‘Let her away, because she crieth after us;’”

Literal Meaning: “But He answered her not a word” because the woman of Canaan called Him “the Son of David” (See v.22). She prayed to the Lord, standing in the wrong position.

“Send her away, for she cries our after us.” The disciples thought that the woman of Canaan was troublesome and therefore they asked the Lord to send her away, lest she may keep clacking.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If we pray wrongly, the Lord would “answer us not a word”.

2) He has His intention if the Lord has not answered our prayers. If we are able to learn with hearts, we will learn spiritual lessons from failing prayers.


Matt. 15:24 “But He answered and said, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”

   YLT: “and he answering said, `I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”

Literal Meaning: “the house of Israel”: the descendants of Jacob, they are God’s elect.

“The lost sheep”: Israel originally was of God. But they all like sheep have gone astray and they have turned every one to his own way (See Is. 53:6).

  The Lord here indicated to the woman of Canaan that the name “the Son of David” is especially for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.

   Spiritual Meaning: “sheep” typifies that Israel is of God and they are fed and taken care of by God. “The lost sheep” symbolizes that Israel has been out of God’s intentions and are lost in outward letters, words and methods.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Words of the Lord imply that the condition to receive grace is to confess oneself as “the lost sheep”. Anyone who is confident in himself and considers himself always right is hard to receive the salvation of the Lord.

2) The Lord shows mercy to men according to men’s true knowledge towards Him and themselves.


Matt. 15:25 “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, Lord, help me!’”

   YLT: “And having come, she was bowing to him, saying, `Sir, help me;’”

Literal Meaning: note that here she called the Lord “Lord”, showing that she had understood the words of the Lord and prayed to “the Savior of all men” (1Tim. 4:10).


Matt. 15:26 “But He answered and said, It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.’”

   YLT: “and he answering said, `It is not good to take the children`s bread, and to cast to the little dogs.’”

   The Background: in ancient times the Jews called the Gentiles “dogs”. It was originally a scornful appellation but later it became a pet phrase, just like Chinese people call the while race “foreign devils”.

Literal Meaning: “throw it to the little dogs.” “Dogs” in original are “young puppies” that are fed in the house as pets of family members and playmates of children. It shows that: 1) the dogs are related to the lord of the house; 2) the lord is responsible to feed them; 3) children should take bread first and then the dogs; 4) children eat what is on the table and dogs eat what falls from the table.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the children’s bread” typifies that the Lord is the bread of life (John. 6:35); “children” typifies the Jews, especially “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (See v.24); “dogs” typifies the Gentiles.

  The Lord Jesus here didn’t despise the woman of Canaan but showed the relative importance and order of His ministry by this------He originally came to show His salvation to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord Jesus came into the world as “bread” that has come down out of the heaven and made men live by eating Him (See John. 6:51).

2) Believers should do all things decently and in order (See 1Cor. 14:40). We should not do according with our wishes and things we like to do.


Matt. 15:27 “And she said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.’”

   YLT: “And she said, `Yes, sir, for even the little dogs do eat of the crumbs that are falling from their lords’table;’”

Literal Meaning: she seized the Lord’s words------“little dogs” and humbly admitted that she was only a little dog. However she boldly declared that the “dog in the house” (the meaning of little dogs in original) belonged to the lord and it had the right to eat crumbs which children do no need any more.

Please note that the Lord Jesus departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon because He was rejected by the Jews (See v.21) and therefore He was like the “crumbs” which fell from the masters’ table.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The woman of Canaan had not minded that the Lord compared her as “little dogs”. On the contrary, she was willing to stand in the position of “little dogs” and prayed to the Lord and finally she received the grace of the Lord (See v.28). God sets Himself against proud, but to humble gives grace (See James. 4:6, 1Pet. 5:5).

2) The condition of a prayer to be answered is to seize the words that the Lord had said before as a handle and prayed to Him------it can still be considered a good way to pray with words that the Lord had spoken in the Bible.

3) When learning to pray, believers should not ask for great matters in the beginning and we should start by asking for “crumbs”.


Matt. 15:28 “Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

   YLT: “then answering, Jesus said to her, `O woman, great [is] thy faith, let it be to thee as thou wilt;`and her daughter was healed from that hour.”

Literal Meaning: “O, woman, great is your faith!” The dialogue between the woman of Canaan and the Lord shows that she truly and stubbornly regarded the Lord as the only salvation to her. Her attitude was the manifestation of faith and therefore the Lord praised that her faith was great.

   Spiritual Meaning: The daughter of the woman of Canaan was delivered from the devil. It typifies that because the Lord was rejected by the Jews He turned to the Gentiles so that Gentile believers received salvation (See Rom. 11:11).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The true faith depends on the true knowledge of the Lord. The more we know Him, the more is our faith towards Him.

2) Believe that you receive them, and you shall receive them (Mark. 11:24). How much we enjoy the Lord’s power depends on our faith towards Him.

3) Anyone who is willing to humble himself and stands in the position where he is supposed to stand will be praised by the Lord.

4) According to this verse, her daughter was healed because the Lord’s word “Let it be to you as you desire.” However according to the context of this story, her daughter was healed because she had eaten the Lord as the “crumbs” of bread (See v.27) ------it is a good way to have a sound life by eating, drinking and enjoying the Lord.


Matt. 15:29 “Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.

   YLT: “And Jesus having passed thence, came nigh unto the sea of Galilee, and having gone up to the mountain, he was sitting there,”

Literal Meaning: “skirted the Sea of Galilee.” Here it is the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (See Matt. 4:15) and Gentiles may be in the majority of the multitudes (See the notes in v.31).

   Spiritual Meaning: “went up on the mountain and sat down there” symbolizes that the Lord will draw all to Him if He was lifted up out of the earth (See John. 12:32).


Matt. 15:30 “Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them.

   YLT: “and there came to him great multitudes, having with them lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and they did cast them at the feet of Jesus, and he healed them,”


Matt. 15:31 “So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

   YLT: “so that the multitudes did wonder, seeing dumb ones speaking, maimed whole, lame walking, and blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”

Literal Meaning: “they glorified the God of Israel.” “The God of Israel” shows that they were gentiles (See Matt. 9:8). At that time there were many cities inhabited by gentiles all around the Sea of Galilee, especially on the east bank.

   Enlightenment in the Word: they glorified God: God has been manifested. Men eat the Lord to gain the Lord. On the negative side it would remove our weakness in our life (the sick were healed) and on the positive side it would let God be manifested from us (glorying God).


Matt. 15:32 “Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’”

   YLT: “And Jesus having called near his disciples, said, `I have compassion upon the multitude, because now three days they continue with me, and they have not what they may eat; and to let them away fasting I will not, lest they faint in the way.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord did not change the rock into bread for Himself when He had been hungry for forty days (See Matt. 4:1-4). He had compassion on the multitude when they were hungry for three days. The mind of Christ is to take care of others instead of Himself (See Pill. 2:4-5).

2) Eating the Lord is not a thing that could be done once and for all. We must eat, drink and enjoy the Lord day by day.

3) Every time men come to the Lord, they will be supplied, fed and filled by the Lord.

4) We are now on the way running to heavens. If we do not always eat the Lord, we will be weary and faint (See Heb. 12:1, 3).


Matt. 15:33 “Then His disciples said to Him, Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?’”

   YLT: “And his disciples say to him, `Whence to us, in a wilderness, so many loaves, as to fill so great a multitude?’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If our eyes are only on circumstances (“the wilderness”), we will be short to meet the real and great need (“such a great multitude”).

2) Our eyes of faith should not be on ourselves or circumstances but on the Lord.


Matt. 15:34 “Jesus said to them, How many loaves do you have? And they said, Seven, and a few little fish.’”

   YLT: “And Jesus saith to them, `How many loaves have ye?`and they said, `Seven, and a few little fishes.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “How many loaves do you have?” The Lord uses what we have instead of what we do not have to bless others.

2) No matter how poor or young we are, there must be something that we could dedicate to the Lord for His use.


Matt. 15:35 “So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

   YLT: “And he commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the ground,”

   Enlightenment in the Word: in quietness and confidence shall be our strength (See Is. 30:15).


Matt. 15:36 “And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.

   YLT: “and having taken the seven loaves and the fishes, having given thanks, he did break, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If the loaves and fish have been kept whole, they cannot be the food of the multitude. If we have not been “broken” by the Lord, we cannot become others’ blessing.

2) “He gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.” We should seek earnestly to be channels to deliver the Lord’s abundant grace. However, we are able to give something to others only after we have received something from the Lord.


Matt. 15:37 “So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.

   YLT: “And they did all eat, and were filled, and they took up what was over of the broken pieces seven baskets full,”

Literal Meaning: “large baskets” are utensils to keep things. They are weaved by rush and canes and they were larger than the “baskets” (See Matt. 14:20).

   Spiritual Meaning: “they took up seven large baskets full of fragments that were left.” “Fragments” symbolizes that grace is surplus and abundant; “seven” is the number of perfectness in this age; “seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left” symbolizes that the Lord’s provision is more than sufficient. Things that were left after enjoyment are still abundant and perfect.


Matt. 15:38 “Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

   YLT: “and those eating were four thousand men, apart from women and children.”

   Spiritual Meaning: “four thousand men” “four” symbolizes creatures (See Rev. 4:7); here it means that the Lord’s provision is over all creatures.


Matt. 15:39 “And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.

   YLT: “And having let away the multitudes, he went into the boat, and did come to the borders of Magdala.”

   Meaning of Words: “Magdala”: tower, greatness.

Literal Meaning: “came to the region of Magdala,” “Magdala” is a district on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee. It is also called “Dalmanutha” (See Mark. 8:10) and its certain position is not clear.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The True Food of People of the King

I. Religious believers mistook “the tradition of the elders” (words of men) for food:

A. Every word which goes out through God’s mouth is what men should live by (See Matt. 4:4).

    1. The scribes and Pharisees symbolize religious believers (v.1).

    2. Religious believers are fervent in outward ways such as “washing hands”, showing that they live by “men’s words” (v.2).

B. Phenomenon that religious believers eat by mistake:

    1. They stressed on “tradition (men’s words)” more than “commandment of God (God’s words)” (v.3).

    2. They transgressed “commandment of God (words of God)” because of “tradition (men’s words)” (v.4-6).

    3. They taught as doctrines “the commandment of men”; their lips were for God and their hearts were not for God (v.7-9).

C. The result of religious believers’ eating by mistake:

    1. They do not have spiritual sight------they are unable to discern that what defiles a man is not the outward visible thing but the inner invisible thing (v. 10-11, 15-20). 

    2. They will be uprooted by the Heavenly Father------because they have not been planted by the Heavenly Father (v.12-13).

    3. They fall into hopeless straits because their thoughts have been blinded------if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch (v.14).

II. True believers have true food in the Lord’s words:

A. They must have the true knowledge of the Lord:

    1. The woman of Canaan typifies Gentile believers (v.21-v.22a).

    2. She asked the Lord for help but called the Lord “the Son of David” wrongly (v.22b).

    3. She knew that “the Son of David” belonged to “the house of Israel” from the Lord’s answer to the disciples and corrected herself to call the Lord “lord” (v.23-25).

B. The knowledge of the Lord is the true food and one should know his own position:

    1. She knew that the Lord was the “bread” (v.26, John. 6:35).

    2. She also knew her own position as “little dogs” instead of “children” (v.26).

C. She humbly stood in her own position and enjoyed Christ by faith:

    1. She admitted that she was not “children” and though she was “little dogs”, she had the right to eat “the crumbs which fell from their masters’ tables” (v.27).

    2. The Lord praised her that “great is her faith” (v.28a).

D. The result of eating the Lord is to be healed:

    1. The daughter of the woman of Canaan was delivered from the devil (v.28b).

    2. The great multitudes all around the Sea of Galilee also typify Gentile believers and their various kinds of sickness were healed by the Lord (v.29-31).

III. The Lord Himself in His words is the true food for men:

A. We should eat, drink and enjoy the Lord day by day when running on the way to heavens, otherwise we may be weary on the way (v.32).

B. “Seven loaves and a few little fish” typifies our life experience of the Lord (v.33-34).

C. The way to eat, drink and enjoy the Lord:

    1. Rest on the Lord’s words (v.35).

    2. We should dedicate our life experience of the Lord to the Lord for His use------the Lord took (v.36a).

    3. We should receive the Lord’s blessing and breaking------He gave thanks and broke them (v.36b). 

    4. The Lord’s servants should be the channels of His provision------ He gave them to the disciples and the disciples gave to the multitude (v.36c).

    5. We should cherish His grace and should not spoil His grace------they were filled and took up the fragments that were left (v.37a).

D. The result of eating the Lord------bringing in the true building of the assembly:

    1. The assembly is at measure of the statute of the fullness of Christ (See Eph. 4:12-13) ------they took up seven large baskets full of fragments (v.37b).

    2. The assembly becomes the fullness of Him who fills all in all (See Eph. 1:23) ------“four thousand” presents all creatures (v.38).

    3. The assembly is built for a habitation of God (See Eph. 2:21-22) ------“boat” symbolizes the assembly; “Magdala” means “tall building” (v.39).


They must Be Planted by the Heavenly Father

I. The Pharisees and their teachings were not planted by the Heavenly Father (v.1-20).

II. The faith of the woman of Canaan was planted by the Heavenly Father (v.21-28).

III. The Lord’s power of healing was planted by the Heavenly Father (v.29-31).

IV. The Lord’s feed with love was planted by the Heavenly Father (v.32-39).


Four words in the Dialogue between the Lord and the Woman of Canaan

I. He answered “not” a word. (v.23) ------the Lord would not answer the wrong supplication.

II. I was “not” sent except… (v.24) ------the Lord does the will of Him and finishes His work (John. 4:34).

III. It is “not” good to… (v.26) ------the Lord’s ministry has relative importance and order.

IV. “Yes” (v.27) ------we should say “Amen” to the Lord’s words. We should trust and obey Him.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren