For Sunday, September 6, 2015
Year B, Proper 18
Why did Jesus go to Tyre (modern day Lebanon)? Mark hints at an answer in saying “He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there” (v. 24). It may be that Jesus needed some peace and quiet after having to interact with those extra grace required Pharisees and teachers of the law. Self righteous religious people are just not very appealing, are they?
Despite not wanting anyone to know where he was, Jesus “couldn’t keep his presence secret”. Authentic Christians don’t have to go out of their way to be seeker friendly: their authenticity is so attractive, that the seekers find them, even when such Christians are just trying to keep a low profile.
In this case, a Syro-Phoenician woman finds Jesus. Her daughter is possessed by a demon. She asks Jesus for help, and he responds strangely: “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (v. 27). What in the world does that mean? What Jesus is saying is this: “My mission is to the Jews, and you are a Gentile. It’s the Jews who are at my table, and relative to them, you and your daughter are merely the Jewish family dogs.” Ouch! Here this nice woman comes to Jesus for help and he insults her. The woman would have been well within her rights to walk away in disgust. But she doesn’t, because she’s desperate. She responds, “But even the dogs eat the children’s crumbs” (v. 28). Jesus is so impressed with her persistence and faith that he says, “You may go,the demon has left your daughter” (v. 29).
This Syro-Phoenician woman had commendable faith. If her life was changed by mere crumbs of the gospel falling off the table of Jesus’ mission, how much more will our lives be changed if we will simply trust and obey our Heavenly Father in the name of his glorious and all-powerful Son?
What problem are you facing today? Maybe it’s a family issue like the Syro-Phoenician woman had. Maybe it’s a job challenge. Maybe it’s a financial challenge. Will you come to Jesus with this challenge and trust and obey that he will carry you through in his love and power? This is our call to commendable faith.