The Gospel of Matthew
Both Law and Gospel: We Need Both
Section 1 (Matthew 15:10-20)
- In this section of chapter 15, we have a new law, a new set of Christian ethical principles. This law comes directly from Jesus, who gives a new Shema, a new “Hear, O Israel!”.
- The radical nature of Jesus’ new law is evident when compared to the old law (Leviticus).
- “It is not what goes into the mouth [food] that defiles the person; it is what comes up out of the mouth [speech] that defiles the person.“
- Reversing the “outward/inward” principle. Our own hearts and thoughts condemn us.
Section 2 (Matthew 15:11-28)
- In this section, we see the good news, the answer to our ethical problem, the solution to inner failure to live according to divine precepts.
- What we say is critical once again. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David.”
- “Then Jesus responded and said to her, “O woman, your faith is terrific; let it be done to your exactly as you want.”
Conclusion: In the first part of chapter 15, Jesus broke decisively with a whole section of Hebrew Scripture, laying down a new (very difficult) law. In the next section, he breaks with tradition again, opening up salvation and healing to all who call upon his name.