April 22, 2007
This chapter begins with Jesus asking the scribes and Pharisees, “Why do ye…transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Then he goes on to teach about inner devotion vs. outward devotion (traditions). The fruit/being planted metaphore we spoke of during lesson #11 is continued in v. 13: “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be footed up.” On the heals of these teachings comes the encounter Jesus has with a Canaanite woman seeking healing for her daughter. Compare this pericope with that found in John 4 with the Nobleman and his son. These two stores have believing Gentiles at the core of their message. Why?
v. 22: “Canaanite” is a term found throughout the Old Testament, but found only here in the New Testament. During the time of the New Testament there was no country known as Canaan. Some scholars think this is the manner of referring to the people of Phoenicia at this time. Mark says the woman was “a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia” (Mark 7:26). Both Rahab & Tamar of the Old Testament were Canaanite. Does this relate to this woman? What does the manner in which this woman addresses Jesus indicate about her?
v. 24: Who is Jesus referring to when he says “lost sheep of Israel?” Explore this sheep metaphore. We discussed it briefly during lesson #12 relating to where Jesus healed at the pools, at the gates of the Sheep Market outside the temple compound.
v. 25: Notice her recognition of the Savior. How is this contrasted with others in the way they addressed Jesus upon their first meeting?
v. 26: Why is Jesus’ response so atypical here? After studying the last lesson, “bread of life” in John 6, what is Jesus saying about casting bread to dogs? Is he calling her a dog? A house pet? Why?
v. 27: What is her response? Contrast this with the response of the Jews, as quoted by Isaiah in v. 8-9. Why are these two peoples contrasted here: Jews (scribes & Pharisees constrasted with Gentile woman)?
v. 28: Here we see the usual Jesus. Why does her answer please Jesus? Why did he test her? Are we likewise tested? Why? Was it a fair test? Do you think it warranted? Once again, note the similarity between the two stories mentioned in the first paragraph of these notes.
v. 29-31: Jesus, back in Jewish territory, continues to heal. Are they giving him credit?, see the last line of v. 31.
v. 32-38: Why does Jesus feed the crowd again? There are at least 4,000 people and it could be upwards of 12,000. What symbolism does the number seven have here? The feeding of the 5,000 is recorded in all 4 gospels but this story only found in Matthew & Mark.
The first verse begins with Jesus being tested by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Though they were in competition with one another, they combine their efforts to defeat their common opponent, Christ. Is this test a contrast to the Canaanite Woman’s test in the previous chapter? If so, how are these tests similar & different?
v. 2: Some early manuscripts do not have “…When evening comes…” through all of verse 3. How does the reading change if you leave out these words?
v. 3: What is it Jesus telling them they can not do? How did he expect them to do this? Does this observation have anything to do with the feeding of the multitude and 7 loaves of bread and 7 baskets? What signs has he given them already?
v. 4: What sign is he going to give them?
v. 5: Why would the disciples forget to take bread? Why would Jesus warn them about the Pharasees & Sadducees? How does the bread the disciples forgot and the yeast of the Pharisees & Sadducees relate?
v. 13: Caesarea Philippi was an especially pagan area. Why would Jesus ask the question he asks in this location of his disciples at this time?
v. 14: Who thought Jesus to be these people?
v. 15: Jesus’ question becomes very personal. Ask yourself this question.
v. 16: Peter steps up to the plate here. How is his response significant?
v. 17: Why does Jesus call Peter “son of Jona?” Does this relate back to verse 4? How did Peter come to this conclusion? How do we come to this conclusion?
v. 18: Matthew is the only gospel writer to use the word “church.” Jesus’ response parrallels Peters’ testimony. Of what does Jesus bear testimony here? Previous to Jesus giving him a new name, Peter was called Simon. This is a word play used to teach. In Greek “Peter” is “petros” or “detached stone.” “Rock” is petra or “bedrock”. The place of this teaching is at the headwater of the Jordan River which comes out from under an outcropping of very large rock. Visualize this lesson location and experience these disciples are getting. Powerful! X D&C 33:10-13. Christ is referred to as the “Stone of Israel.” In the JST of John 1:42, Cephas/Peter (Hebrew/Greek) is said to mean not only stone, but seer also.
As we bear testimony of Jesus, how does he bear testimony of us in return? Consider Patriarcle Blessings & the inclusion of name identity, think of the temple, think of naming & blessings of infants, etc. What else can you think of?
v. 19: What are these keys that Peter will receive from Jesus. How do other churches understand this verse?
v. 20: Why does Jesus NOT want his disciples to bear testimony of Jesus’ identity? This is 6 months until Jesus’ death.
v. 21: A great deal of teaching is alluded to here. This is why I think the 40 days is relevant when considered with the 40 days in the wilderness by Christ & the subsequent temptations, 40 days on the ark for Noah & his family, 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites, 40 weeks gestation for a human baby, etc. This is the beginning of a new emphasis in Jesus’ ministry where instead of teaching the crowds, he is teaching his disciples.
v. 22-23: What is Peter doing? Why the harsh response here? How is Peter like Satan here?
v. 24: What is Jesus teaching his disciples? See the JST notes here.
v. 25-27: Is this an allusion to the temptations Jesus experiences after the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness?
v. 28: Who is Jesus speaking of? What is the “death” spoken of? What is the “kingdom” spoken of?
v. 1: “And after 6 days” means this is happening on the 7th day. Mark also notes the “six days.” Luke says, “About 8 days.” Is this significant? Matt 17 reports Sukkot related eventshappening six days later, which seems to locate these events on the Day of Atonement. This is a temple experience this “first presidency of the church” is about to have. Some believe this was on Mt. Tabor, see Map #14.
v. 2: What is “transfigured?” Study the footnote cross references to gain a better understanding of this word.
v. 3: Moses and Elias had not tasted death, but had been transfigured earlier in order to fulfill their future assignment which was to confer the keys to Jesus’ apostles, Peter, James and John. (The other apostles would eventually also receive these keys.) They needed their bodies (hands) to do this priesthood ordinance. Moses is a representative of the old covenant and confers the keys of gathering and Elias (Elijah) confers the keys of sealing. See the entry under “Transfiguration, Mount of” in the Bible Dictionary on pg. 786.
v. 4: Why does Peter want to build shelters for these people? What are these shelters?
v. 5: Why does the Father come at this moment and bear testimony of his son?
v. 8-9: This is the end of an all-too-brief recounting of this marvelous experience. Why is it so brief? What has happened? What is this vision that the apostles must keep secret until after Christ’s resurrection? What do YOU know has happened in light of your church membership and modern-day revelation?
v. 10-13 (not part of the assigned reading) give a bit of insight into the apostles’ questions about the pending resurrection. What does John the Baptist have to do with any of this?