Proper 15 A
Her daughter is in deep trouble. Demon possessed. It doesn’t get much worse than to have a child possessed by a follower of Satan. Nothing the doctors and psychiatrists can do! What would you do? You’d go to Jesus too!
And so off the Syro-Phonecian mother goes. To Jesus. Tracks Him down. She depends on Him! She trusts only in Him!
Why? Because this non-Israelite Syro-Phonecian mother knows who Jesus is and why He’s come. She cries out quite loudly: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.” “Lord.” That’s the God word. “Son of David.” The promised Davidic king whose kingdom would never end. And then the prayer: “Have mercy! Have mercy ON ME!” Now that’s faith! The highest worship of Jesus there is!
And then the strangest thing happens. Check it out! “Jesus doesn’t say a word to her!” Really? Really? It’s like this woman doesn’t exist let alone her demon possessed daughter! He just flat out ignores her! How rude! How inconsiderate!
Let’s take a vote! If Pastor God Jesus treated you this way what would you do? I know what I would do. I’d give Him the finger. I’d stomp off. And then tell everyone within earshot, tweet-shot, cellphone-shot and Facebook-shot how horrible this Jesus is! Wouldn’t you?
And how embarrassing for the disciples too! The Preacher says nothing? His silence seems so harsh! Jesus humiliates them! Doesn’t He see this woman’s deep distress? Why won’t He say something to her? He doesn’t have His A game going today! Has He forgotten who He is?
And so the disciples decide to save face for Jesus. Rescue Him from this situation. And her crying after them is just downright uncomfortable! “If you won’t say something to her, then you might as well send her on her way! With your deafening silence the best we can do is tell her empathetically that you care for her. Oh we know He doesn’t seem too. But we do! There, there now! You poor little woman. Better be on your way! Talk to you later.”
The bottom drops out when Jesus finally speaks. If you thought His silence was deadly devastating, then get a load of what He says when He finally opens His mouth. He declares: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” I.E. “Look honey, I’m here for the Israelites. You’re not Israelite! You’re Syro-Phonecian!” So that’s appears to be a big fat “NO!” to her worship – to her faith – that is, her request for help.
Well, that would be it for me! Never again would I look to this Jesus for anything! First, He ignores me with silence. Then, He gives me a-round-about “No.” No more Jesus for me! What about you?
Not Syro-Phonecian Mom! She continues to give Jesus the highest worship: FAITH! Despite the silent treatment and a flat out “NO,” she still looks to Him for all her good. For all her help! Undaunted! Persevering! She still banks here life and her daughter’s on Him. So she bellies right up to Him and kneels before Him! And then comes another with all boldness and confidence prayer: “Lord, help me.”
And what does Jesus say? “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” I.E. “Look here Honey, Don’t you remember that I just told you I’m here for the lost sheep of Israel? You’re a little Gentile dog.”
Have you ever heard anything so brutal from Lord Jesus? Have you had enough of this Jesus? Good grief! You can’t get anymore vicious than being called a dog! Talk about being dissed! Really folks, it’s time to high tail it out of here! To give up on this Jesus and never have anything to do with again! After all, wouldn’t such words just totally wipe you out?
Not Syro-Phonecian Mom! “Yes, Lord.” There she goes again! That’s the third time she’s addressed Him as “Lord.” I.E. Jesus is God and Savior for her! And incredibly she agrees with Him! “You’re absolutely right. I am a Gentile dog. But I know that there is enough of you as Savior to go around – even to us non-Israelites, including me and my daughter! Even if it’s just the crumbs of your savioring that fall from your salvation table!”
She catches Him with His words! Captures Him in His words! He can’t back out of His words. Nor does He want to. And that’s when Jesus declares: “Woman, great is your faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour!
The silent treatment, the apparent “No,” and the reminder that she was a non-Israelite Gentile canine, did not deter her. Jesus stretched and stretched her faith to the breaking point. But she would not let go. Her faith was “great” because the object of her faith was Jesus. Fully and only Jesus! Regardless of His silence and then His harsh words. Great Jesus … great faith!
Jesus was for her – totally – just as He is for you and me. We are Gentile dogs too! We too have been given the crumbs of salvation that fall from master Jesus’ table. The crumbs from His table are His Body and His Blood. Given and shed for you and me for the forgiveness of our sins. Those are His Words. His promise! For you!
He won’t back out of those words! Nor does He want to! You can take Him captive in those words! All of His being Lord for you today are given to you through His Words and the crumbs that fall from His table!
With His Good Friday Body and Blood in you – with the promise that all is forgiven – you are enlivened for all of this life – whatever He has given you to do in your vocations – and also enlivened for eternal life and the resurrection of the body on the Last Day.
Hold Jesus to His Words – catch Him with His Words – and great is your faith. Great — all because of Jesus who died and rose for you. For your salvation!
In the Name of Jesus.