Jesus, true man while true God, can be seen in scripture to react like a true man, remember? He wept before restoring Lazarus. Clearing the temple of dishonest money changers perhaps we see some temper alongside his desire to purge His Father’s house of apostasy. His word to His mother at Cana has always intrigued me for His pretty human reaction. His words to the Syrophoenecian woman near Tyre and Sidon might strike you oddly as well.
Today’s Gospel is Matthew 15:21-28;for context, you might read all of Matt. 15. Jesus and the disciples have withdrawn out of Israel following His confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees. He must have known He had hit some hot buttons in His criticism of them; He would be safe in the territory to the north and west, at least for a time.
Note the woman crying out for mercy was not an Israelite, and yet she addressed Him as “Lord” and as “Son of David.” That at first He seems to ignore her confuses us – wouldn’t He show mercy to just anyone who begged it? He says Himself He was send only to the lost sheep of Israel – and then, He grants her prayer. Let’s see this not as rejection of outsiders, as it first seems, but the beginning of Christian outreach to people beyond Israel.
What we might read as harsh words become the Gospel message of salvation by faith.
This weekend we welcome back our favorite violinists, Patty and Claire. Let their music be a blessing to you!