Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 15” pp. 387-411.
In Matthew chapter 15 we continue to see opposition to Jesus, especially from the Pharisees. Chapter 15 opens with a conflict about traditions (Morris 1992, 387). Morris affirms that these traditions came about because of a care for keeping God’s Law (Morris 1992, 388). Yet he illustrates some of the minutiae of the Sabbath traditions to show they would also be a burden. The tradition in question in this passage is that of handwashing before eating (Morris 1992, 390). The ceremony removed defilement thus protecting food from being unclean (Morris 1992, 391). Jesus’ response is that the traditions may lead people to break God’s command, a more serious matter (Morris 1992, 391). Specifically, by making a vow of all one’s possessions people could dishonor their parents by not caring for them (Morris 1992, 393). This also nullifies the people’s worship (Morris 1992, 394). Jesus then applies the situation to a deeper issue, that uncleanness comes from within us (Morris 1992, 395). Morris describes the countercultural implications of this statement at length.
In 15:21-28 Jesus is confronted by a Canaanite woman. He ultimately heals her daughter of a demon. This healing, according to Matthew, is directly tied to the woman’s faith (Morris 1992, 400). Morris suggests a passage of several months between the start of the chapter and this time (Morris 1992, 401). He observes that Jesus’ apparent hesitation is expressed to the disciples first (Morris 1992, 403). The woman approaches Jesus as “Lord” before Jesus defends his priority of caring for Israel and then heals her daughter (Morris 1992, 405).
Matthew continues with another incident of Jesus feeding many people. Morris emphasizes that this is a different incident than the 5,0000. It has a very different setting and details (Morris 1992, 407). The feeding comes after numerous healings (Morris 1992, 408). Provision of food here is Jesus’ idea, based on his care for his followers (Morris 1992, 409). Again, Jesus provides a great deal of food from a small supply, leaving extra to be gathered afterwards (Morris 1992, 410).