An Irrevocable Love
Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
Matthew 15:21-28; Romans 11:1-2, 29-32
We read of a Cannanite woman who asked Jesus to restore her daughter to health. At first reading of this troubling story, Jesus appears reluctant. He even sounds downright prejudice in the comments ascribed to him in this story. Some try to work around this by saying Jesus was "testing" her faith. If you remember my comments from last Sunday, you will know that I don't believe that is true. God doesn't test our faith--God accepts whatever level of faith we have and, as we allow it, nurtures us into becoming greater and stronger citizens of the Kingdom. I suggest to you that this seeming reluctance is part of his plan to teach his followers an important lesson. His hesitancy was a part of the treatment plan for her care. Certainly from all we know of Jesus, it is reasonable to assume that his apparent harshness and insensitivity were about more than what appears on the surface of this strange encounter.
From the call of Abraham to the birth of Jesus Christ, God was working toward the reconciliation of the world with himself. When Jesus broke onto the stage of history, the Jews, like so many other ethnic groups then and now, were strict segregationist. There was their way and there was the wrong way. They were God's chosen and all others were outside the fold. It is with the age old discriminatory attitude that we come to the gospel lesson for today.
This was Jesus' first and only venture into gentile territory. He went over the wall! It was one thing to associate with Israeli prostitutes and prodigals, but with Cannanites!! This was a dramatic break with Jewish tradition! Somewhat like Rosa Parks going to the front of the bus! Or, sitting at the lunch counter like everyone else! His actions amounted to a revolution, the ultimate in religious/civil rights demonstration. This represents the beginning of God's intentional plan to break down the barriers betwee ...
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