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Highlights from Matthew chapters 15-16:

Matthew 15

  • Conflict with Pharisees over tradition of ceremonial hand washing (15:1-20)

  • Jesus heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman after initially testing her faith (15:21-28)

  • Jesus feeds the 4,000 people with just 7 loaves and a few fish (15:29-39)

Matthew 16

  • Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign from Jesus, but he rebukes them (16:1-4)

  • Jesus warns disciples about "yeast" (teachings) of Pharisees and Sadducees (16:5-12)

  • Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (16:13-20)

  • Jesus predicts his death and resurrection for the first time (16:21-23)

  • Jesus teaches the cost of discipleship - denying self, taking up cross (16:24-28)

  • Jesus promises he will return in glory to judge everyone (16:27-28)

Key Themes Include:

  • Conflict with religious leaders over tradition vs truth

  • Jesus' identity as Messiah/Son of God revealed

  • Previews of Jesus' coming death/resurrection

  • Counting the cost of being Jesus' disciple

  • Promise of Jesus' second coming in glory

How Mathew 15-16 can help strengthen  your relationship with God:

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It reinforces the primacy of inward heart condition over outward rituals (15:1-20). Jesus teaches that it's not adherence to human traditions that makes one right with God, but the state of one's heart. This challenges you to examine your heart motivations and surrender to God from the inside-out.

It models persistently seeking Jesus with unrelenting faith (15:21-28). The Canaanite woman's determination provides an inspiring example of crying out to the Lord, even when He seems silent at first. Her faith was rewarded. These chapters encourage bringing all your needs to God boldly.

It reveals Jesus' identity as the Messiah and Son of God (16:13-17). Peter's confession leads to Jesus blessing him for this revealed truth. Affirming Jesus' divinity strengthens your faith in Him as the way to the Father.

It prepares you for the necessity of Jesus' death and resurrection (16:21-23). Though initially difficult to accept, understanding Christ's sacrifice is pivotal for salvation and growing in intimacy with God.

It calls you to total commitment as a disciple (16:24-28). Jesus' teachings on denying yourself, taking up your cross, and potentially losing your life underscore the total allegiance He requires as Lord.

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By taking these truths to heart, you are positioned to go deeper in your personal relationship with the Lord through surrender, faith, affirming who He is, grasping the Gospel, and whole-hearted devotion.

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