Blessed… One Determined Woman

From there, Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Son of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” But he didn’t respond to her at all. His disciples came and urged him, “Send her away; she keeps shouting out after us.” Jesus replied, “I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.” But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.” He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.” Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed (Matthew 15:21-28, Common English Bible).

I always find it interesting the way God works. I started working on my sermon a little for this Sunday, Mother’s Day. This story will be my text. I had actually picked this text back during Lent. Then it lands the week of Mother’s day on my blog. I know some might be thinking that perhaps this is the reason I spent most of last week on the same two lessons, so it would come out this way. First, you are too cynical. Second, while I did realize Saturday this text would come up today, I honestly didn’t think about it before then. I am going to save most of what I have to say about this story for Sunday. So, if you want to hear it, either hope I can get it recorded and uploaded or come to church in Sweeny Sunday.

For some, this may seem a bit of a strange text for Mother’s Day. And, to be honest, most times when I have read this story it has left me a bit cold. Here is this woman throwing herself at Jesus’ feet, begging him to heal her daughter and Jesus calls her a dog.

For those who think I am being a bit harsh in my assessment, I offer two arguments. First, when the woman asks Jesus to help her he says, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.” She asks for help and he calls her a dog!

Second, the lesson tells us she was a Canaanite woman. There are scholars who argue this is where we get our word canine. I am not sure how true this is, but the words would seem to fit.

When Jesus calls the woman a dog, some scholars argue he wasn’t saying to be mean. He was saying it to point out to the woman that his mission was to the Jews for now and not to the Gentiles whom most Jews saw as dogs or dog people. Hence, “It’s not good to take the children’s [God’s chosen people] bread and give it to the dogs [the Gentiles].

For her part this woman was determined. “But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” She knew that whatever Jesus had leftover would be enough for her needs. And who says nobody likes leftovers!

With that, Jesus pronounced the woman’s faith as “great.” More importantly, he also pronounced her daughter healed.

One last thought. Remember Jesus telling a parable about a persistent widow and an unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). I am not saying Jesus is the unjust judge, but I can’t help but think that Jesus saw a little of the persistent widow in this Canaanite woman from Tyre.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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