MAN ON A MISSION?
God of peace, I am often stressed out, full of worry and urgency. Let your peace sweep over me again.
Read Matthew 15:21–28
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat routines or rhythms of rest help you to connect with God, either on your own or with others?
Jesus has retreated (journeying many, many hours on foot) after facing the pressures of controversy (vs 12,21). Previously, he withdrew to prevent opposition escalating (14:13) or to pray alone (14:23). Here, we see Jesus as teacher, rabbi and man on a mission, needing time away from people, crowds and tension.
In stark contrast to the Pharisees and scribes’ religious pedigree (15:1), the Caananite woman is a descendant of Israel’s ancient enemies. Yet she approaches the Jewish Messiah with humble awareness of his power and identity (v 25), and is honored by Jesus for her faith (v 28). What are the disciples thinking (v 23)? Is Jesus being purposefully provocative in his answers (vs 24,26)? It’s another learning opportunity for the disciples, as Jesus reinforces his own mission to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ (v 24; Matthew 10:5,6).
The first time Jesus came, he did not visit every corner of the earth – his disciples would begin the full mission to the Gentiles later (Matthew 28:19). But his teaching, miracles, death, resurrection, ascension and the giving of the Holy Spirit show that Jesus is more than a man on a local mercy-mission. These landmark events are pivotal in the earthly life of the incarnational, everlasting Father.
Are there places where you need to better embrace Jesus’ mission to the world and cross boundaries to love others and share his story?
Lord, create in me a renewed hunger for you, and a re-energized involvement in global outreach, for your holy name’s sake.
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