Saturday, March 03, 2007

Exhortation-Blessed Dogs

Matt 15:25-27 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Here, on the Second Sunday of Lent, it is good for us to think of ourselves as we really are. The Scripture is both alarming and comforting at the same time. It is this paradox of life in the Christian faith that is striking. We look at ourselves from one perspective and are disgusted. We look at ourselves from another perspective and are pleased. We look at God with a realization of our human condition and we shrink in fear. We look at God as the prodigal’s father and we are moved with fearless love.

So, what is our condition and what is our position before God? Shall we retreat? Shall we approach? Shall we be ashamed? Shall we be bold?

Let the woman teach us. She approached near to Jesus and called out to Him. However, He did not answer her. But she would not give up. She had come to realize that Jesus was her only hope. Even though she had no claim of birth, no claim of heritage, no claim of righteousness upon Him, still, she called out to Him. She came to Him. She needed Him. And if He could not help her, then no one could.

Jesus is rude to her and insults her and still she will not leave. He refuses to talk to her. He tells her that she is not among the favored people. And still she will not leave. She does not deny any of this. She knows herself. At least well enough to know that she cannot make claims upon Jesus. But she also knows Him well enough to know that He can be moved to mercy and compassion. Furthermore, she must have some inkling that He was treating her the way He was treating her precisely to pull out the depth of her desire and faith. She will not leave without the blessing. She will get what she seeks.

Finally, she compares herself to a dog that must survive with the scraps and crumbs that fall from the table. She knows that even crumbs from Jesus are enough and more to satisfy for life. Jesus marvels at her faith and grants her request.

So, we come to God. We realize that we have no other option. We are not worthy. We can make no claim on Him. We are but dogs, scavengers who can barely keep ourselves alive. But we know that even a scrap from Jesus is life from the dead. So, we come and we know that He will hear, He will bless, He will heal.

So, how do we come to God? What is our response to Him? We come humbly, in the name of Jesus, expecting a blessing, because of God’s mercy and refusing to leave until we get it. First, we confess our own condition. Then we call upon Him to hear and to heal. And He does so.

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