Matthew 15:1

ESV Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
NIV Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
NASB Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
CSB Then Jesus was approached by Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, who asked,
NLT Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him,
KJV Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

What does Matthew 15:1 mean?

Jesus' fame continues to grow in Israel. The previous chapter began with the news that the Jewish ruler of Galilee, Herod the tetrarch, had heard of Jesus' fame and power. Jesus could not escape the crowds; even when He withdrew to a desolate place, they found Him and the disciples (Matthew 14:13–14). When Christ and His followers arrived in another less populated area, Gennesaret, the people recognized Him and brought their sick and afflicted to Him (Matthew 14:34–36).

It's not just that the sizes of the crowds are growing, either. Many people are beginning the believe that Jesus, sent from God and with God's power, has come to save them from Rome. John's report on the feeding of the 5,000 ended with Jesus realizing that people were getting ready to take Him by force and make Him king (John 6:14–15).

This is exactly what the Pharisees, one sect of Israel's religious leaders, have been worried about. The Pharisees are an extremely legalistic group who have clashed with Jesus frequently during His ministry (Matthew 9:11, 34; 12:2). Their religion focuses on following rules, and most of those rules are written by men: they are "traditions" supposedly meant to keep people from breaking the laws of God.

The Pharisees have wholly rejected the idea of Jesus as Messiah, so they see it as their job to stop His alleged heresy. They continue to look for opportunities to bring Jesus down. This group of Pharisees and scribes have come from Jerusalem to Galilee for the purpose of confronting Jesus. This is not a chance meeting, or a trap as was planned at the synagogue (Matthew 12:9–10). These men have decided it is time to challenge Jesus' authority to His face in an area where He is popular.
What is the Gospel?
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