March 15, 2020 Even You and Me Pastor Carol P. Taylor
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To [c]cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as [d]have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be [e]condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 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.”
23 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.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Our Psalm is lovely, isn’t it? And so appropriate for these Unusual times in which we find ourselves!
THe Lord is against evil..and hears the cries of the people...and is near the broken hearted…these are words of hope and promise, words that everyone needs to hear and remember!!
Did you catch that “none of his bones will be broken”..
It is a prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus.
It’s also a promise of God’s protection,..
But stuff does happen to god’s people.. Illness, injuries, awful things can happen in just the blink of an eye. But God is with us thru everything. I wish i could say that once we take Jesus as lord we will have wonderful, prosperous, happy, lives with no issues...but that is not the case. I was deeply disappointed when i learned that for myself! But God, hears us, and is compassionate, and cares deeply. And even weeps… remember John 11.34, Jesus Wept...I think that is one of the most powerful sentences ever written.
Our NT lesson contines this promise of GOd’s care for us...all of us!!
READ GOSPEL LESSON
TYre and Sidon were Gentile territory. Remember in these times Jews would sometimes go way long distance out of their way to not enter unfamiliar places. This is mostly due to the ROman Empire dislike of Jews ..they worship their One True God NOT the roman emperor!! The Jewish people felt oppressed by Rome and by the local governors who carried out the Emperors decrees and demands. THe Jewish rules of cleanliness and to not associate with other religions also applied here. But Jesus (how often do we say that? BUT JESUS chose more than once to go on thru these other towns and had interesting things happen when He did!
This encounter challenges us. Jesus seems to be harsh with this woman!! SHe just wants her daughter to be made well!! Why would she come to him, being a canaanite herself?
This story comes after a series of tales of Jesus’ traveling, teaching in parables, healing many, many people, feeding thousands at one time! Walking on water!! These stories got out! People were starting to come from MILES around to hear him and to be healed. The woman even calls him Son of David!! She is familiar with the Jewish teachings!
But Jesus says he is come for the people of Isaral first...
But author NT Wright-one of the premier NT scholars of our time-- puts it into perspective. Wright explains that in Jewish tradition, Jesus' message was for the Jewish people first.. Wright: The prophet Isaiah, in line with several psalms and other biblical passages, had spoken of God’s coming kingdom as the time when (a) God’s promises and purposes would be fulfilled, (b) Israel would be rescued from pagan oppression, (c) evil (particularly the evil of oppressive empires) would be judged, and (d) God would usher in a new reign of justice and peace.
We see those messages in our Psalm don't we!
SO Jesus initially says he can't help her...he can not go to her home and heal her daughter. But she is persistent isn't she!
The use of the term “dog” here is disturbing. It was a derogatory word for gentiles. (hes not calling her the b word) it goes against the grain to think of Jesus saying this to her!
But she replies...saying even dogs eat the crumbs from the children's table.
And Jesus is familiar with gentiles way of life too. He grew up learning the trade of a carpenter, and would have done some traveling around to work. If a tradesman was very good at his job, he’d get work from other folks, not just his immediate circle. So Jesus may well have done carpentry for Gentile business or even their homes. (and well, he’s the son of God, he would know stuff anyway)
SO Jesus knew that Gentiles sometimes kept small dogs as pets. Jews didn't at this time in history. I suspect it was all those cleanliness laws.. Dogs are fun but they are NOT clean…
So she replies that even dogs eat crumbs. EVEN a Canaanite can get a crumb of healing from the Son of David!!
..and Jesus marvels at her faith
He says your request is granted and her daughter was healed at that moment. Even tho it was ahead of schedule...this healing happened, and tells us that even an ‘outsider” is worthy of the love of Christ!
The message of Jesus is a bringing together of heaven and earth. That hope, and compassion are for all of God's children. (even you and me)
Jesus came first to the Jewish people, to share this message, and then spread it to all ‘nations and peoples.” heaven and earth came together in Jesus, to share a message of love and unity.
This is a message we need to hear today and need to share!!
I wish i could say we’ll pray this virus and all viruses away from us. I believe in the power of prayer, BUT I've also taken a lot of science classes and know that viruses just do their own thing. But we DO pray and we will continue to do so!! God hears prayers.
I admit this virus stuff is scary. Older adults, which is most all of us, are vulnerable. But we will take care of ourselves and those around us. We’ll stay informed, and use common sense.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers ― so many caring people in this world." - Fred Rogers
WE Can be those helpers!! We can help others, and this is a powerful means of helping to keep ourselves on an even keel.
We’ll check on neighbors and friends. We can offer to run an errand for a senior, or make sandwiches for the children next door who are home all week. We can order a gift card to a local restaurant or business, to help their income stream now, and use the card later on. We will pray for our community and the world, even if we aren’t sure of what to say, because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
A lot is uncertain. but we have hope because of Jesus! no matter what the next couple months brings we know the Love of God and have Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. Jesus died on the cross for each of us! And on that beautiful Easter morning the women found the tomb was empty. Jesus has risen from the grave to defeat death and sin. We have hope because of this. Heaven and Earth came together in Jesus and come together again when we live and share our faith with others. Amen