Nobleton Community Church
March 17, 2024
Matthew 15:29-39 continuing with 16:1-12
Pastor Paul V Lehmann

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We see in these verses:


Jesus leaves the area of Tyre and Sidon where he healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter, and goes south again towards Galilee, Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others. And laid them at his feet, AND HEALED THEM .

The people were amazed when they saw this. We see Jesus relieving every kind of human need. He has compassion for the 4,000 men plus the women and children, (once again at least 12 or 15,000 people). Some have tried to say that the feeding of the 5,000 in chapter 14, and this incident of 4,000 are the same but there are distinct reasons why that is totally unlikely. In the 14th chapter of Matthew they are told to sit on the grass, so it was in the spring time when their was grass in Palestine. In this passage they sit on the “ground” which makes it almost 6 months later near the end of the summer, when the grass is brown or gone. It was curing this time that Jesus and the disciples walk up north to Tyre and on to Sidon. With the question of the season in mind—-it could have been almost 6 months for them to make the trip to Sidon. It could have been done in two weeks with continued walking. But Jesus needed the time to teach his disciples—so he probably took his time.

Also the first feeding was mostly Jews present, but here it is in the Decapolis where there are mostly Gentiles. It is that fact that explains the curious phrase in verse 31, “They ‘praised the God of Israel.” To the Gentile crowds this was a demonstration of the power of the God of Israel. There is another thing that supports the fact that these are two different incidents, in two different locations. In the feeding of the 5000 the baskets which were used to take up the fragments are called by a different name (kophinoi); in the feeding of the 4,000 they are called (sphurides). The kophinos was a narrow-necked, flask shaped basket which Jews often carried with them, for a Jew often carried his own food, because he might be compelled to eat food which had been touched by Gentile hands and was therefore unclean. The he kind of basket that a Gentile would was much more like a hamper; it could be big enough to carry a man, and it was a kind of basket that a Gentile would use. The disciples once again ask an unbelievable question; (verse 37) “In this remote place, where can we get enough bread to feed all of these people?

Jesus is very patient with them. —“How many do you have” –7 loaves and a few small fish. The wonder of this account is that in these healings and in this feeding of the hungry, we see the mercy and the compassion of Jesus going out to the Gentiles. Here is a kind of symbol and foretaste that

: The bread of God was not to be confined to the Jews; that the Gentiles —that’s us too—were also to have their share of him who is the living bread. The gospel, the good news about Jesus as “the bread of life” —“the abundant life or life in all its fullness. – as well as -the way, and the truth,

It not only was not to be confined to the Jews—–it is not to be confined to the Church.— This what we so often do—–keep it to ourselves.

The disciples really didn’t get the significance of all of this, until after Pentecost, when Peter was called by God to go to the home of Cornelius who wasn’t a Jew, but he was what was called—–a” God Fearer” . A Gentile who was open to the God of the Jews. Peter’s “Jewish life’ was turned upside down at this man’s house. He was told he could eat food that he had never eaten before, and he saw this Gentile give his life to Jesus Christ.

So in our text:

  1. We see Jesus healing physical disability. The lame, the maimed, the blind and the mute. Jesus cares about our bodily pain, and those who bring health and healing to people today, are still doing the work of Jesus Christ. Whether it is through modern science or through prayer for divine healing.
  2. We see him feeding the hungry. We see him giving all he has to relieve physical hunger and physical need. Jesus is infinitely concerned for peoples bodies, just as he is for their souls. Here we see the power and the compassion of God going out to meet the many needs of the human situation.

Alfred Edersheim (a Jewish historian who believed in Jesus points out in his series of books on “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” —that in three successive stages of Jesus’ ministry, he ended each stage by setting a meal before his people.

First, there was the feeding of the 5,000, that came at the end of his ministry in Galilee, for Jesus was never to teach and preach and heal in Galilee again.

Second, there was this feeding of the 4,000. This came at the end of his brief ministry to the Gentiles, beyond the bounds of Palestine—first in the districts of Tyre and Sidon and then in the Decapolis.

Third and last, there was the Last Supper in Jerusalem, when Jesus came to the final stage of the days of his flesh.

Jesus always left people with strength for the way; always he gathered people to him to feed them with the living bread. Always Jesus gave them himself before he moved on.

And still today he comes to us offering us also the bread which will satisfy the immortal hunger of the human soul, and in the strength of which we shall be able to go all the days of our life.


Now in Matthew 16:1-12 —We see the Pharisees and Sadducees looking for a sign. People today are always looking for miraculous signs. Something different than Jesus Christ. They can’t stand the thought that He is the only way. Everyone from different ideologies, and religions often find a common ground in that they are all against Jesus Christ the Son of God. The Pharisees and Sadducees get together to come against Jesus. Hostility, makes strange bedfellows. The Pharisees live life according to the details of the oral and scribal law, The Sadducees rejected the oral and the scribal law completely, and accepted only the written words of the Old Testament as their law of life. The Pharisees believed in angels and in the resurrection of the body and the Sadducees did not, (an opposition which Paul made use of when he was on trial before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:6-10),

And in this case most important of all—the Pharisees were not a political party and were prepared to live under any government which would allow them to observe their own religious principles; the Sadducees were the small, wealthy aristocracy, who were the collaborationist party and were quite prepared to serve and co-operate with the Roman government, in order to retain their wealth and their privileges. Further,

The Pharisees looked for and longed for the Messiah;

the Sadducees did not.

It would have been almost impossible to find two more different sects and parties; and yet they came together in their overwhelming desire to eliminate Jesus.


Maybe not the good kind Jesus the prophet –teacher that walked the earth, but Jesus the Messiah the Son of God.

The demand of the Pharisees and the Sadducees was for a sign. The Jews had a way of wanting a prophet or a leader to authenticate his message by some abnormal and extraordinary sign. (back in Matthew 12:38-40)

The problem was they were blind to the greatest sign —Jesus himself. He used the old weather saying about the red sky. Have you ever heard? “Red sky at night sailors delight—-Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

They knew very well the sign of a red sky in the evening presupposed fine weather the next day, but in the morning meant that a storm was on the way. BUT THEY WERE BLIND TO THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

Jesus told them that the only sign they would receive was the sign of Jonah.

What Jesus is saying is that God’s sign is Jesus himself and his message. It’s like he is saying to them “In me you are confronted with God and with the truth of God” What more could you possible need?

But they were like so many today. They were looking for something else to satisfy them. Jesus, wasn’t enough. Who he was, what he did, and what he tuahg didn’t satisfy them, because their heart’s weren’t right. We too often forget that today. When we evangelize. If the Holy Spirit hasn’t already begun to prepare someone’s heart, all of our efforts to tell them about Jesus is in vain.

The Pharisees and Sadducees, had all other writings of the prophets to know the truth of God. They of all people should have had tremendous faith, and had their hearts open to Jesus, but they didn’t

A pagan Phoenician women, that hardly knew anything about Jesus had great faith in him. She was desperate for her daughter who was demonized. The Gentiles who flocked to Jesus in the Decapolis had great faith. They discovered that Jesus could satisfy them, He would meet their physical and spiritual need.

What is it that you count on today to satisfy you?

Is Jesus everything to you? The one who completely satisfies and is your Lord and Savior, the one you always rely on, —-or just someone you know some facts about