Archive for June 18th, 2019

Matthew 15:21-28: Moving Mountains

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Juan de Flandes: Christ and the Canaanite Woman

“When Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon – two cities with evil reputations (Ezekiel 28) – he meets a Canaanite woman.  ‘Canaanite’ adds to the negative connotation of ‘Tyre and Sidon’ . . . The evangelist speaks against the woman, that he may show forth her marvelous act, and celebrate her praise the more . . . The woman addressed Jesus as Lord and Son of David and asks for mercy for her daughter, who suffers from a demon.  Jesus’ response is silence – he is ether turning her down or testing her faith.  The disciples then want her dismissed.  Jesus . . . declares her commitment to Israel [and] . . . he thus promotes a biblical doctrine of election . . . salvation comes to those outside Israel in response to their faith in Jesus”.  (Barton and Muddiman 864)

God redeems those who seek him. 

In today’s Noontime, we watch Jesus go to non-Jewish territory to interact with a woman who is not a believer in the Mosaic Law.  She is a Canaanite and does not believe that Yahweh is the one true God; yet she understands that God is present in Jesus in a singular way.  She believes in miracles.

With God all things are possible.

“A distinctive feature of Matthew’s Gospel is that it frequently portrays Jesus as a recipient of worship . . . For Matthew, this motif is connected to the belief that God is present in Jesus and present in others through him.  Matthew does not think it appropriate to worship anyone other than the Lord God (4:10), but God is present in Jesus to such an extent that worshiping Jesus counts as worshiping God”.  (Mays 872) 

God sent God’s Word to live among God’s people.

In this episode, as with the story of Jesus’ healing the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8, we see Jesus heal from a distance because of faith enacted by one outside of Yahweh’s covenant.  What are we to think about this, and in Jesus’ first reply to the woman?  It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs.  The woman in today’s reading believes that Jesus can make her daughter whole.  She believes that Jesus is God and so says boldly:  Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters. Her persistence pays off and her distant daughter is healed.

Not a hair of your head shall fall that God does not mark it.

This episode is followed by stories of Jesus healing and feeding the many lost sheep who follow him seeking wholeness.  We are these sheep.  We are the centurion and the Canaanite woman.  We have the power to ask and to have our requests fulfilled . . . when we persist . . . when we worship . . . when we acknowledge that God is God.

Ask and you will receive.  Knock and the door will be opened.  By faith you will move mountains.

A re-post from June 4, 2012.

Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juan_de_Flandes_-_Christ_and_the_Canaanite_Woman_-_WGA12050.jpg

Enter the word Rejection into the blog search bar to further reflect. 

Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 864. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 872. Print.

Written on June 3, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

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