Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reminiscere: A Devotional Commentary

Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus then left that area and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. Behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed!” But Jesus did not answer her a word. His disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away! She is shouting after us!” However, Jesus answered, “I was not sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Still, the woman came forward and expressed adoration to him, saying, “Lord, help me.” But he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” But she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be it done to you even as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

A filthy heathen sinner. She probably had it coming to her. If she had become a Jew and raised her daughter up in the church her daughter wouldn't have been listening to her heavy metal music and playing with her ouija board and doing drugs and wouldn't have gotten herself demon-possessed. And now that her family has gotten into some trouble she comes whining to him. Send her away Jesus! We have more important things to do. We have a Messianic kingdom to establish. We have to overthrow the Romans. If we spend any time with this lady we'll be unclean and won't be able to go to the temple.

Jesus plays along. I wasn't sent for a ugly Gentile dog like you. I'm not going to take the food intended for the children of God and throw it to you.

The woman doesn't say, "How dare you!" and spit in His face. She doesn't even argue that she isn't a dog at all. She knows she's a dog and completely unworthy of receiving anything from Jesus. But she knows that Jesus is merciful. Despite the apparent denial of mercy by God, she knows by faith that she will be shown mercy. She will not be shown mercy because of anything in herself but because of who Jesus is. You call me a dog? You're absolutely right! Let me eat the crumbs off the floor.

This heathen woman understood what the disciples did not. The disciples thought that they had a right to the Messianic kingdom. The disciples were sinful dogs but didn't know it.

When the Devil comes and tell you that you do not deserve God's love and tells you that you have no right eternal life and that you will perish in your sins, don't argue with him. Tell him he's absolutely right. I am a poor, miserable, sinner who has sinned against God in thought word and deed both by what I have done and what I have left undone and am worthy of God's present and eternal punishment. But Christ shed His blood for all poor miserable sins. And Christ has washed me and feeds me with His own body and blood. We can know that God is merciful even when it seems that He rejects our pleas for mercy.

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