Nov. 8, 2019
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes, it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. -Matthew 15:21-28
In order to achieve his ultimate mission of bringing all people to the table of fellowship, Jesus had to make disciples. That’s why he was at table with the 12. He was making disciples through intimate contact. You can’t disciple people from afar you got to spend intimate time with them. In Jewish society nothing was more intimate than breaking bread at the table of fellowship. Not only did he have to spend intimate time with his 12 trainees, Jesus had to teach them how to become his disciples. You teach by precept and he did that in Gennesaret when he taught the disciples about the primacy of God’s word over the tradition of the elders. But you also teach by example. A true master not only tells his disciples to do as I say do, he also tells them do as I do.
The Canaanite woman’s request for her daughter’s release from demonic possession was an opportunity for teaching about the importance of listening. Jesus demonstrated to his disciples that it was very important to listen to the requests presented by persons in need. Regardless of the societal designation of such persons, listen to their request. Regardless of the social status of such persons listen to their request. Regardless of your historical conflict with such persons listen to their request. The text says when the woman pleaded with Jesus for her daughter’s release from demonic possession Jesus listened. Sometimes that’s all we can do-listen. After listening he answered! That’s what I like about Jesus-he answers. His response may not always be what we want to hear but he answers. He may say yes. He may say no. He may say not yet. He’s a prayer answering God. His initial answer was from the word of God he told the Canaanite woman I have only been sent to the lost children of Israel. He answered. He was teaching the disciples to acknowledge every request with a response consistent with God’s word. The disciples wanted to ignore her; they wanted to send her away; they wanted to treat her as an inconvenience, but Jesus was teaching them to never de-value a person by ignoring them. Listen to them and acknowledge that you’ve heard them.
Finally, Jesus used the persistence of this woman to teach the disciples about faith. Not saving faith, not ordinary faith; but crazy faith. When you are on a mission for God, you must have the type of faith that will not quit… Jesus knew that for the be disciples to evangelize the world they had to have faith like this Canaanite woman; a faith that would not accept no. She had crazy faith. That’s the kind of faith disciples would need in order to make the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of our Lord. So, Jesus’ method was to use this moment to teach his disciples about faith. Do you have that kind of faith?
Yours In Community Transformation.
Rev. Gillard S. Glover
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