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2007-06-17_The Childrens Bread_Matthew 15.21-16.12_SL

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The Children’s Bread

Matthew 15:21-16:12   |   Shaun LePage   |   June 17, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Bread—mentioned in oldest writings of mankind; Loaves and rolls found in ancient Egyptian tombs. British Museum's Egyptian galleries—actual loaves 5,000 years old

B.    Today—still basic; but sliced! Twist ties color coded to day of the week it was made

C.    Among common people of Jesus’ day, bread considered primary—all else an accessory; a staple; often a synonym for food or all of life’s necessities—Mt 6:11; and yet, 4:4—more!

D.    John 6:27,28,35—“I am the bread of life…comes…believes”; greatest need, die without

E.     In Mt 15:21-16:12 bread=background metaphor to teach disciples important lessons; Jesus rejected by Jewish leaders; now training disciples for ministry after His departure.

II.     Body—Matthew 15:21-16:12

A.    Crumbs from the children’s bread for a dog. (15:21-28)

1.     (21) “went away / withdrew” from hostile (Tyre & Sidon outside Israel) to Gentiles (disciple lessons).

2.     (22) Desperate “Canaanite woman” (Gentile)—expecting compassionate Jesus!

3.     (23) Why no answer? Waiting for woman to get on disciples nerves? “Send her away!”

4.     (24) I believe Jesus was making a point—acting like the typical arrogant, non-compassionate Jew, much like disciples: Get rid of this Gentile nuisance! They expected Him to have compassion for her, give her what she wanted and send her away. He acted like them to teach them compassion for Gentiles. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

5.     (25-26) She begged—He took it even further: “The children’s bread…dogs!” Disciples stunned? In agreement? This is what typical Jews were thinking. But what is “the children’s bread”? Jesus! The Messiah Himself and the blessings He brought! 

6.     (27) Her desperation heightened—tears? Didn’t care if He thought she was a dog, just heal my daughter! Her faith in Jesus would not be weakened even if He insulted her and acted like a normal Jew—She believed He alone could help her. Her faith stood up to the test.

7.     (28) Jesus praised her! What pleases God? Faith—great faith pleases Him greatly! He praised her and granted her request. Disciples watched. Great faith—from Gentile?!

8.     He came to bring “the children’s bread…only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” but they rejected it—they rejected Him (Ch 12)! So, the Gentiles were going to get the bread (Messiah). Ch 10—go only to the house of Israel; Ch 28—all nations. Not “dogs” but “sons” John 1:12.

9.     Outsider? Become a child of God by faith.

10.  Disciple? Invite outsiders to the table. Bob and Lynne not good neighbors; moving van—change their ways; homemade bread approached the house. "Hi. Welcome to our neighborhood. Here's some bread." We're moving out.

B.    More than enough bread for four thousand Gentiles. (15:29-38)

1.     (29) “Departing…Sea of Galilee”; Mark 7—Decapolis, another Gentile area.

2.     (30-31) Brought sick—Jesus healed. Crowd responded! Not just “marveled” (like “astonished” Nazarenes) but also “glorified the God of Israel”! No “offense” (stumble)—they apparently believed! What were disciples thinking?

3.     (32-38) Jesus “compassion” (just like 5,000—14:14)—entire event mirrors feeding of 5,000 but clearly different event (place, numbers, seven baskets (bigger, Ac 9:25)). Why again? Compassion for Gentiles! 5,000 Jews. 4,000 Gentiles. Preview of the extension of blessings to Gentiles (Abrahamic covenant—blessing to whole world). Literal bread, small taste of blessings to come for non-Jews.

4.     Notice v.36. Blessed Gentiles through disciples. Didn’t need to do that. Manna came out of sky. Blessings of Messiah, son of Abraham, going to non-Jews; sending Jews to do it (Acts 1:8). Took long time to get this. Ac11:1-18—also ended with “glorify”!

5.     Outsider? Feast on the blessings of Christ.

6.     Disciple? Hand out the blessings of Christ. Lazaro Orpusongu walked three days from his village in Tanzania to meet Tim and Annie Tidenberg—newly appointed missionaries. Lazaro: “We are so glad you are here, because we are a hungry people.” Tim assumed looking for food; there to train pastors, not provide food. “Oh… not asking for food…asking for the Bread of Life. We are hungry for God’s Word.”

C.    A warning about leavened bread for forgetful disciples. (15:39-16:12)

1.     (1) Pharisees & Sadducees together? Enemies found common threat in Jesus (ecumenism—common rejection of Christ of Scripture; nothing else really matters) | At least 4 times asked for or even “demanded a sign”. Why another occurrence? Later.

2.     (2-3) Weather & question. In other words: No idea what God is doing. You have been given obvious signs, but you can’t (refuse) to read them: John the Baptist (forerunner, announced kingdom); fulfilled Scripture; words and works of Jesus.

3.     (4) “Evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”—dishonest doubters (evil) looking for more before they’ll believe | No more except sign of Jonah—Ch 12=Death and resurrection. Jonah went to Gentiles 12:41 “believed”.

4.     (5-7) Forgot bread; Jesus warning “beware of leaven”; disciples thought physical bread

5.     (8-10) “Little faith” (again—at least 3rd time); Great faith of Canaanite woman contrasted with little faith of disciples  |  not literal bread! Don’t you believe yet that I can provide literal bread any time? Listen! Pay attention—there will be a test!

6.     (11-12) Figurative bread. What does bread represent here? The true kingdom influenced by false teaching.

7.     Leaven? Leaven pictures permeating power or influence of Pharisees & Sadducees.  “Teaching” opposed John, rejected fulfilled prophecy about Jesus, refused to believe Jesus’ teaching and many miraculous signs. Disciples reading of the signs was not much better than P&S. The P&S refused to believe. The disciples had “little faith”. Thus, they had no idea what God was doing and what Jesus was trying to teach them. Not grasping the kingdom plan (include Gentiles). P&S rejected signs they’d seen. Disciples forgot the signs they’d seen—did not transfer to faith. Pharisees “leaven” was hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). Jesus must have been thinking about their hypocrisy of asking for a sign. They wanted to look good before the crowds, but they were just testing Him. Sadducees main teaching seems to be denial of resurrection (e.g., Mt 22:23). Jesus just talked about sign of Jonah (i.e., resurrection). “Leaven” is disbelief of resurrection—kingdom program of Christ (see 16:21,22; 28:16,17)—the ultimate sign of who Christ is. Beware of leaven of hypocrisy and unbelief.

8.     Outsider? Be careful who you listen to. Tainted message? Source of life!

9.     Disciple? Be careful who you listen to. John Lennon: “Give peace a chance”; also “Gugukachu I am the walrus.” Good mixed with bad? Watch out.

III.   Closing: “I am the Bread of Life, he who comes…never hunger or thirst” demands a response:

A.    Arrogant, misguided Jew? Hate Him or Love Him—no middle ground! More signs?

B.    True and absolutely necessary for spiritual life? Feast, glorify God, tell others and beware of anyone who tries to sell you a counterfeit “bread of life”—never hunger or thirst again.

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