Gospel of Matthew Chapter Fifteen

15:1 Then some scribes and pharisees came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying –
15:2 “Why do your followers disobey the traditions of the elders? For they don’t wash their hands when they eat food.”
15:3 He replied, saying to them, “Why do you also disobey the instruction of God for the purpose of your tradition?
15:4 As God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘he who speaks ill of father or mother is destined to die.’1
15:5 Instead you are teaching that whatever is said to one's mother and father is an offering for one's own benefit;
15:6 and not that he should be honoring his father or mother. Thus you invalidate the instruction of God because of your traditions.
15:7 You hypocrites – Isaiah correctly spoke about you, saying,
15:8 ‘This people venerates Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
15:9 And in vain do they worship Me, teaching others the instructions of men.’”2
15:10 And he called out to the crowd, saying to them, “Hear and understand:
15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that makes a person unclean, but what comes out of the mouth – this is what makes a person unclean.”
15:12 Then his disciples approached him and said, “Did you know that the pharisees were offended after they heard this teaching?”
15:13 Then he answered and said, “Any plant that my spiritual LORD did not plant will be uprooted.
15:14 Disregard them – they are blind leaders of the blind. When the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into a ditch.
15:15 Then Peter replied, asking, “Please explain this analogy.”
15:16 And Jesus said, “Do you also not understand?
15:17 Don’t you understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the belly and is evacuated into the latrine?
15:18 But those things that come out of the mouth arise from the heart – and thus they make a person unclean.
15:19 Because out of the heart come wicked thoughts, murders, adultery, fornication, theft, lies and slanders.
15:20 These make a person unclean – but to eat with unwashed hands does not make a person unclean.”
15:21 Then Jesus left that place and returned to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
15:22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region approached and began to cry out, “Be merciful to me Master – follower of David – my daughter is miserably possessed by a demon.”
15:23 But he didn’t say a word. And his disciples approached and beseeched him saying, “Send her away, because she keeps yelling at us.”
15:24 Then he replied and said, “I was sent only for the lost sheep of the temple of Israel.”
15:25 Then she approached and worshiped him, saying, “Master, help me.”
15:26 But he replied, saying, “It is not proper to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
15:27 Then she replied, “Yes Master, but even the dogs feed upon the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
15:28 Jesus replied, saying, “Ma'am, your faith is great – it will be done for you as you request.” And her daughter was healed immediately.
15:29 And Jesus left that place and traveled along the sea of Galilee, and climbed up a mountain and sat down there.
15:30 There great crowds approached him, bringing with them the paralyzed, blind, mute, crippled and many others – and laid them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them.
15:31 Thus the crowd was amazed as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, the paralyzed walking and the blind seeing – so they praised the God of Israel.3
15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples over and said, “I feel compassion for these people because they have remained with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I will not send them away hungry – because they will faint on the way.
15:33 The disciples said to him, “Where could we get so many loaves in the wilderness to satisfy such a large crowd?”
15:34 Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven and a few little fishes.”
15:35 So he instructed the people to sit down on the ground.
15:36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes and offered them to God – then broke them and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the crowd.
15:37 And they all ate, and were satisfied: And they picked up the broken pieces left over – seven baskets full.
15:38 And those that ate were four thousand men, plus women and children.
15:39 Then he sent away the crowd and boarded a boat and sailed to the coast of Magdala.


1. Verse 15:4. The phrase θανάτῳ τελευτάτω does not mean to be put to death by others as inferred by many translations. The text indicates that Jesus is referring to one of God’s commandments, which says:
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NIV)
This instruction indicates consequence rather than punishment. Being “destined to die” is a consequence related to the metaphorical terminology Jesus used indicating the spiritual “death” associated with not doing what is pleasing to the Supreme Being. This metaphorical terminology was also indicated when Jesus said:
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22)
2. Verse 15:9.
The LORD says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV)
3. Verse 15:31. This indicates the “God of Jacob,” in the same way the “God of Abraham” is referenced in other Gospel verses. “Israel” was the name given to the Prophet Jacob. These phrases indicate a devotional relationship between God and these Prophets.