Feast upon the Word Blog

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Matthew 15:21-17:9

Posted by cherylem on April 16, 2007

Here are my notes for lesson #13.

Matthew 15:21-17:9

Matthew 15:21-28: The Story of the Canaanite Woman

Tamar and Rehab (in the Matthean geneology of Jesus) were Canaanite women.

v. 22: O Lord, thou Son of David
(publicly recognizing Jesus’ identity, before the disciples do, before Peter does)

v. 26 dogs = whelps, small pets, such as would be permitted in the house

v. 27 The woman does not argue the point (her seeming secondary status). She is desperate; her need is urgent. She states a theme of this section: even dogs get crumbs . . . or . . . Jesus has so much power he will have more than enough left over from what Israel does not need or want.

v. 28 The daughter is healed long-distance. Jesus acknowledges the woman’s faith. (Does this woman get crumbs?)

What symbol is used in this story? Bread

What do we learn? ALL – Jew and Gentile, male and female, can approach Jesus in faith.
Jesus has compassion on all.
Jesus does not want to send anyone away with unmet needs (see v. 32)

How does this story help us to approach God in faith?

Matthew 15:29-39: Jesus heals the multitudes, then feeds them

What do these verses illustrate?
1. v. 29-31 Jesus heals all the sick who are brought to him.
2. v. 32 Jesus acts out of compassion for their need (even though they have not asked him for food).
3. v. 33-38 Jesus provides for these people.

How does this story help us to expect good things from God?

Read: Isaiah 35:2-6 (p. 902)

Significance of seven baskets: possibly symbolism relating to the 70 gentile nations. In any event, Matthew 15:37 refers to plenty of scraps [broken meat = broken pieces] left over

Ezekiel 34:14 (p. 1075)
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

Ezekiel 34:14 (New International Version)
14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

(The feeding of the 5,000 appears in all four gospels. The healing of the 4,000 as an additional event appears in Mark and Matthew.)

Matthew 16
Matthew 16:1-12: seeking a sign/the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

v. 1 Pharisees and Sadducees: often these groups were enemies. In this text, they are united against Jesus. (Nothing unites like a scapegoat!)

The Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign. Is wanting a sign always wrong? Why is the demand for a sign wrong in this case? (See Matthew 16:1, Ex. 17:7, Ps. 78:18-20).

Other examples show God favoring those who ask for a sign as an assurance: Gen. 15:6, 8, Judges 6:17, 36, 39; 2 Kings 20:8, Isaiah 7:11-14.

Asking for a sign is not wrong in itself. However, sometimes people ask for signs mockingly, as a reason to disbelieve. Matthew 4:3, 6; 12:38; 27:40, 42-44.

v. 4 The sign of Jonah: Matthew 12:41 “the preaching of Jonas” brought repentance.

v. 5-12 What is the yeast (leaven) of the Pharisees and the Sadducees? See v. 12.
What is the continuing symbol Jesus is using? bread.

Matthew 6:13-20
Recognition of who Jesus is (but is the recognition total?)
Read Matthew 14:33
v. 16 Peter names Jesus
v. 17 Jesus names Peter
v. 18 The community built upon “this rock” will prevail against all
v. 19 What are the keys?
Who holds them?
D&C 110:11-12
D&C 128:9-10 ff. (p. 260)
D&C 132:46 (p. 271)

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 158:
“The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses and Elias, gave the
keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting – without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc. If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered, there is the Priesthood.”

v. 20 Why shouldn’t Peter reveal Christ’s identity? (One idea: because he and all the disciples still don’t understand what/who Christ is, and will not
until after the Resurrection: Read Matt. 28:19-20.)

This climactic revelation occurs in pagan territory (where they worship Pan), 25 miles and 1,700 feet uphill from the Lake of Galilee, at the source of the Jordan River.

Augustine/Origin/Tertullian – early church fathers – all believed the “rock” was Christ. The rock became Peter in reaction against the reformers (Luther, etc).

What do we believe the “Rock” is?
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 275: “What rock? Revelation.”

See Matthew 11:25; 16:17

Galatians 1:11-12 (p. 1474)
11But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

New American Standard Bible:
11For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
12For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:17 (p. 1481)
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [NIV: so that you may know him better]

Who do we believe the rock is?
Ephesians 2:19-21 (Christ is also the rock) (p. 1482)
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Matthew 16:21-23
Peter has recognized Jesus through the power of revelation, but still does not understand what it means to be a disciple. (Grace for grace, one step at a time.)

Peter is rebuked by Jesus. Why?
Read Matthew 4:8-9
Matthew 27:42-43

Peter has overstepped his bounds as a disciple.

Matthew 16:24-27
An explanation of what true discipleship is.
What does it mean to “take up his cross?”
The life of a disciple is worth any price that the disciple must pay.

Matthew 16:28 – 17:9: The transfiguration

17:1 the mountain top experience
17:2 transfigured: changed in form, in appearance, in clothing. But more than mere radiance or the appearance of Moses and Elijah: something that has to do with revealed truth, with the revealed nature of God.

Joseph Smith refers to this as an endowment of power (TPJS, p. 263, 265) and also refers to the transfiguration as the transfiguration of the whole world (TPJS, p. 13).

“Like the sun:”
Read Ex. 34:29-35 (p. 135)
Matt. 13:43 (p. 1211)
Matthew 28:3 (p. 1240)
Daniel 10:6 (p. 1117)
Rev. 10:1&2 (1575)
D&C 76:20; 70 (p. 138, 141)
2 Peter 1:17-18 (p. 1552)

17:3 Moses and Elias (Elijah). Both Moses and Elijah met with God on Sinai (Elijah according to tradition).

Read Bible Dictionary last paragraph: Elijah, p. 664 (was the last prophet to hold the Melchezidek Priesthood before Jesus).
See D&C 110:11-12

Ex. 24:15-16 (p. 116)
Ex. 13:21-22 (p. 99)

the response: fell on their face
Matt. 2:10-11 (p. 1189)
1 Ne. 8:30 (p. 15-16)
1 Ne. 11:24 (p. 20)
3 Ne. 11:17 (p. 429)

17:7-9 “Arise, and be not afraid.”
Christ gives us the power to stand in the presence of God: Alma 36: 10, 13, 18, 23 (p. 298-99) When does this happen? After we are endowed with power.

5 Responses to “Matthew 15:21-17:9”

  1. brianj said

    This stood out to me:

    “v. 20 Why shouldn’t Peter reveal Christ’s identity? (One idea: because he and all the disciples still don’t understand what/who Christ is, and will not until after the Resurrection”

    That’s a very good explanation—the best I’ve heard. The usual explanation is that Jesus didn’t want the disciples’ preaching creating more opposition to him, which would possibly precipitate an early execution (or assassination), or at least make it that much more difficult to move about Judea. I think that’s also a good explanation, but what I like about yours is that it points out a big problem in interpreting doctrine: if you don’t have the whole picture then you will really mess up the parts. Suppose Matthew had been writing his Gospel all along—like a daily blog. I imagine it would be wildly different and focus on many different (“wrong”?) things.

  2. Cherylem said

    The identification of the woman as Canaanite is interesting because at the time of Jesus I don’t think there were any Canaanites, by the way. So the fact that Tamar and Rahab were also Canaanite women may actually have some significance in the identification in Matthew 15.

  3. Robert C. said

    BrianJ #1: Thanks for drawing my attention to this, great point.

  4. Jim F. said

    Cheryl, I seldom read your lesson notes without thinking I should stop posting mine and let people depend on yours. You provide excellent materials for preparing a lesson. Thanks.

  5. Cherylem said

    Jim F. #4,
    This was the most astounding compliment I have received in some time. Thank you.
    Of course, you do realize that I sometimes lift your notes and fit them into mine, yes? So don’t even think of quitting.


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