This week’s podcast is on an encounter between Jesus, his disciples, and a Gentile/Canaanite/Syro-Phoenician woman. This story comes from Matthew’s Gospel. You can listen to the podcast from a couple weeks ago for an overview of Matthew and the other Synoptic Gospels.
“Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.”
(Matthew 15:21–28 NRSV)
What’s happening in this story? Jesus certainly seems to be insulting this woman and calling her a ‘dog’! What are we supposed to do with this? Understood in its context this is an incredible story of the faith of a Gentile woman who is looking forward to the effects of Jesus’ resurrection long before Jesus death! She pleads with Jesus to bring a future reality into the present.
What are the issues we face today? What promises of God do we imagine will be fulfilled in the distant future that through prayer and action, believing in the power of God, must become a reality now, in the present?
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Grace and peace.