Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

by Bear Wade

Her Feisty Trust
Matthew 15:21-28
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
analysis by Ed Schroeder

Diagnosis

D-1 Frantic Woman–Daughter demon-possessed. “Suffering terribly.” Begging for mercy.

D-2 Her genuine faith in Jesus buffeted by Jesus himself. Real grounds for despair, although she does not despair.

D-3 Designated (by Jesus!) as one of the un-chosen people for whom he has NOT come to show mercy. Not one of God’s children, just kitchen dog. I.e., rejected by God.

Prognosis

P-3 Yet, yet…the very one she calls on for help, and (esp. in Matthew) the honorific title she invokes, Son of David, which signals the kind of One this “sent one” is. N.B. that at the very outset of Matt’s gospel he designates Jesus as Son of David, Son of Abraham. Those two patriarchs are two of the three only (Noah is the 3rd) in the O.T. who receive a mercy-based [Hebrew: Chesedh] covenant from Yahweh. Au contraire the covenants which God cut at Sinai and Shechem, covenants cut in terms of debit and credit (you do this and you will be rewarded). What it all entails for Jesus to be such a mercy-covenant fulfilling son of David is the whole story Matthew is telling. It entails Jesus’ cross and resurrection. “Sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” he will finally be “lost” himself, as he goes all the way to bring these lost ones back home to the shepherd whose they really are, God.

P-2 Her feisty trust, that a) he is the Son of David designated to do mercy to lost ones, and b) even if she is excluded from the original beneficiaries, she trusts contrary-to-appearances that he will include her as beneficiary of his mercy-covenant mission.

P-1 Home healed. Her daughter and she herself. She goes home herself as God’s healed daughter with Jesus’ own commendations that she’s an insider–with him, and therefore with God as well. Daily life options–living as God’s found daughter with a Jesus-connection that says I please him and please God too. Even if this is only “crumbs,” some crumbs! And she can keep on eating them in the joys and sorrows that may criss-cross her daily life from here to eternity.

E.Schroeder

Author

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