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Pentecost 11, 2020 Proper 15A
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
August 16, 2020
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8, Romans 11:1-2a, 13-15, 28-32, Matthew 15:21-28

 

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”
Text:                            pastorjud.org   
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

 

I am old enough to remember that when the phone rang at home you had to answer it because you did not know who was calling.  You didn’t know whether or not it was important.  The main phone was mounted on the wall and the receiver was connected to the phone by a curly cord.  It was a great step forward at our house growing up when we got a ten foot cord so when you were on the phone you could at least step out of the kitchen and sit on the stairs to the basement with the door closed for a little privacy. When the phone rang you answered it.

Not so much nowadays.  My phone rings and I look to see who is calling.  Someone I know?  An unknown number?  Potential spam?  If I don’t want to talk I can swipe down to ignore.  Talking on the phone, which we did so much of when I was a teenager, is not so popular these days.  Kids don’t call each other.  They text. They message.  They Snapchat.  And it is easy to ignore someone because you know who the message is coming from.

When you have been texting or messaging with someone and they stop texting back what is that called?  Ghosting. The modern silent treatment.  You reached out to someone and they do not respond. That’s not a good feeling.

In our Gospel reading today the Canaanite woman gets this from Jesus.  Jesus is visiting the foreign area of Tyre and Sidon and this woman comes to him crying out, “Matthew 15:22 (ESV) 22 … “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”[1]

Jesus is in an ongoing battle against Satan and his demons and this seems like a great opportunity for Jesus to defeat the devil and bring peace and healing to this woman’s daughter.  Matthew 15:23 (ESV) 23 But [Jesus] did not answer her a word. …[2]  This desperate mother is asking for help and Jesus remains silent.

That is a feeling that is all too familiar for so many of us.  You cry out to God for help and God remains silent.  You are at the bedside of your critically ill spouse or parent or child and it feels like God is ghosting you.  You pray for God to send you a good Christian man or woman to be your spouse and God seems to be silent.  You pray for help to get a better job and it appears that God does not care.  That is not a good feeling.

            But there is one question that is clearly answered by the Gospel reading today.  What does great faith believe about Jesus?  We can find the answer to this question because in this reading from Matthew 15 we meet a woman whom Jesus says has great faith.  What does great faith believe about Jesus?

We don’t like unanswered questions and this lesson leaves us with many.  What is the woman thinking?  What is the disciples’ tone of voice?  Why is Jesus silent?  We don’t get answers to these questions, which makes this very much like life.  There are many questions for which we just do not get answers.  We certainly have learned that lesson during these Pandemic times.

But there is one question that is clearly answered by the Gospel reading today.  What does great faith believe about Jesus?  We can find the answer to this question because in this reading from Matthew 15 we meet a woman whom Jesus says has great faith.  What does great faith believe about Jesus?

Great faith knows who Jesus is.  The Canaanite woman calls Jesus “Lord”.  In the Gospel of Matthew only the disciples refer to Jesus as “Lord.”  This Gentile woman also calls Jesus, “Son of David.” She knows who Jesus is.  She knows that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah coming from the house of David.  Isaiah 11:1 (ESV) 1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.[3]  Jesse is the father of King David; Jesus is descended from the house and line of David.

Great faith knows who Jesus is.  The Canaanite woman knows Jesus is Lord and that she is not.  She also knows that Jesus has something for her.  Jesus does not answer her first request but she does not give up.  She continues to make her request to the disciples and they just want her to go away. Matthew 15:23 (ESV) 23 … [Jesus’] disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”[4]  The woman knows who Jesus is and she knows Jesus has something for her.

Jesus answers this Gentile woman, Matthew 15:24-26 (ESV) 24 … “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”[5]

Whoa! Jesus!  I thought you were the nice guy.  What are you doing telling this woman that because she is a Gentile she is a dog and she does not deserve good things.  Jesus rebukes her, but the Canaanite woman knows that Jesus is Lord and she is not.  She knows that Jesus has something for her.  We know this from how she responds to him.

Matthew 15:27 (ESV) 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”[6]  Now a quick note on the translation of her response.  The ESV and other English translations all translate her response and “Yes, Lord, yet…” or “Yes, Lord, but…”  The Greek words used here are “kai gar”, they are used together in 40 places in the Bible but only here is it ever translated as an adversative; as being in opposition. I know that, but…  The much better translation is, “Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat from the crumbs that are falling from their masters’ table.”  The woman is not arguing with Jesus, she is agreeing with Jesus.

The Canaanite woman knows who Jesus is and knows that He gives in such abundance that crumbs are more than enough.  Matthew 15:28 (ESV) 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. [7]

Great faith knows who Jesus is.  Great faith knows that Jesus is Lord and you are not.  Great faith knows that Jesus has something for you. However, what God has for you may not be something you want.  Great faith knows that you belong to Jesus.  Great faith knows that you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus.  Great faith has the peace that is beyond understanding. Great faith knows that even in the midst of God’s silence His promises remain in effect.  Great faith knows that one day God will bring full healing.  Great faith looks for the resurrection of the dead on the last day.  Great faith knows that promise is still in place and it will happen.

As you look to receive the Lord’s gifts today in His Word and in His Body and Blood you have great faith.  You know who Jesus is and you know He has something for you.  You have great faith.  Amen.

 


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[6]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[7]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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