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What Faith!

August 17, 2014


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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost                                              Trinity Lutheran Church

17 August 2014                                                                         Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Matthew 15:21-28


The woman’s daughter is in a serious dilemma. And this is no Hollywood make believe horror movie! The little girl is oppressed and possessed by demons. It doesn’t get much worse than that does it? I mean really, what would you do if your child was constantly attacked and oppressed by the demonic? You’d be in panic mode 24-7-365. The doctors and psychiatrists are not helpful! What would you do? You’d go looking for Jesus too ASAP! You’d drop everything! All of sudden your life would be put into perspective. About what matters the most!


Off mother goes. Frantically to Jesus. Tracks Him down. She depends on Him! She trusts only in Him!


Why? Well, this non-Israelite, Syro-Phonecian mother knows who Jesus is and why He’s on the earth. She cries out so that Jesus can hear her: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.” “Lord.” Not mister. Not sir. Lord is the God word. “Son of David.” She also believes that Jesus is the promised son of King David whose kingdom reign would Messianic-ly and Savior-ly last forever. Faith is dependent. Faith prays. “Have mercy! Have mercy ON ME!” Now that’s faith! The highest worship of Jesus there is!


But 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! Tight lipped. Mouth zippered. Not one word!


Shouldn’t we call the district president? Have a special voters’ meeting? If Pastor Jesus treated you this way what would you do? I know what I would do. I’d give Him the middle finger. I’d stomp off. I’d tweet, twitter and Facebook everyone to proclaim just how horrible this Pastor Jesus is! Wouldn’t you?


How awkward and uncomfortable for the disciples too! Their Preacher says nothing? His silence is so harsh! By not speaking Jesus humiliates them! Doesn’t He see this woman’s deep distress? Why won’t He say something to her? You can’t say that He doesn’t have His A game going today! That’s no excuse! Has He forgotten who He is?


So the disciples decide to save face for Jesus. Rescue Him from this situation. After all, her crying out after them is just downright uncomfortable too! “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, poor thing. Better be on your way! Talk to you later.”


Then all of a sudden the bottom drops out when Jesus finally speaks up. 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!” Nothing like getting what 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! How about you? Want to join me as I walk right out the door?


Not Syro-Phonecian Mom! Incredibly, she still gives 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 her life and her daughter’s on Him. So she bellies right up to Him. Kneels before Him! And then comes another with all boldness and confidence prayer: “Lord, help me.”  


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? Someone call the human rights commission! Let the protests, the marches, and the indictments begin! 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 Him 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 my daughter and me! Even if it’s just the crumbs of your Savior-ing that fall from your salvation banquet table!”


Did you note what she just did? It’s brilliant! It’s what faith does! She catches Him in 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! So to these words: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mk 16:16).


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 His most holy divine name tattooed on you in Holy Baptism — with the promise that all is forgiven and that Satan nor his demons have no power over you – 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.




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