08162020 – Matthew 15. 21-28

 

The scriptures are ambiguous at this point.  Therefore, the ACTUAL geographic location is UNCERTAIN-UNKNOWN.

 

Where was Jesus exactly?  We do not know FOR SURE.

 

It would MAKE SENSE if Jesus were IN GENTILE lands…because the Scribes and the Pharisees would never follow him THERE.  They would have feared being made RITUALLY unclean.

 

Perhaps the woman crossed over “some of her boundaries” just to see Jesus, and to seek him out.  We do not know.  Maybe they met in the border regions…somewhere in the middle!

 

What we do KNOW is that this is a TEXT about “INSIDERS and OUTSIDERS.”  Jesus and the disciples, the scribes and the pharisees are all insiders.  A “Canaanite woman” would definitely be an outsider.  She was a woman after all.

 

This area contained the ancient Phoenician Seaports of Tyre and Sidon.  It was predominantly a Greek-city-state-area.

 

If you will remember the CANAANITES were the ones already-living-in-the-land of Israel-when- JOSHUA lead the Hebrews into what, for them, was the “PROMISED LAND.”  So naturally, they became life-long-forever-bitter-enemies.

 

“It was said.”  (Whether true or not may be another story) …

 

They worshipped IDOLS.  THEY intermarried with people of other cultures.  They sacrificed their children.  But all of that was a thousand years earlier, a whole millennium ago.  The people of the area were still considered to be detestable, despicable, and definitely damned for all time.  Old religious prejudices die hard.  (For sure!)

 

The story itself is told in almost clinical brevity.  It is succinct and to the point.

 

It has to be!  She is a Canaanite.  She is woman.  She is a Gentile.  She is a non- Jew, a non-believer.  She is a heathen.  It is the case of the wrong person, in the wrong place and at the wrong time. She is of the wrong culture.  She was of the wrong religion. She has the wrong kind of accent.  She is a foreigner, an outsider…a Canaanite DOG.

 

What she had going for her…was she was like a MAMA-BEAR (protecting her cub.)

 

She may have been a screamer, someone who hollered, a shouter, badgering and persistent…but it did not matter.  She may have been anything but quiet and polite, a real troublemaker.  Those things were not her concern.  It did not matter if she was annoying.  She was going to be heard.

 

Telling her to “get out of here,” to “take-a-hike,” “take off,” to “scram,” to skedaddle,” to “go away woman” would have NO EFFECT.  It was not about HER.

It was about her child.  AND SHE WAS DETERMINED.  She may have been a nuisance, an annoyance, an inconvenience, an irritant, a headache, a problem, and an aggravation…but DEAL WITH IT.  A strong woman, to be sure.  A “mama bear!”

 

She did not give “two hoots” if she was being problematical or not.

 

She was a woman-on-a-mission.  Again, deal with it.  A STRONG WOMAN, to be sure.  A MAMA-BEAR!

 

One way or another, she would seek the aid of Jesus…and HE WOULD HEAR HER OUT!  She was determined.  If her daughter could be made well, and he was the man to do it…well then, he would DO IT.  She was resigned to it.  She would not be deterred; it was as simple as that!

 

A REAL MAMA BEAR, she was…and you do not MESS with MAMA BEARS!

And for the record, I want you to know, that this is the ONLY ENCOUNTER, the only DEBATE, the only ARGUMENT that Jesus does NOT win in the entire BIBLE!

 

The startling thing is not that she carried the day.  It is not that her daughter was healed.  It is not that Jesus relented.

 

The most startling thing is that when this story was told and retold…

People would have been shocked, horrified, surprised, upset, outraged, and disgusted by the fact that Jesus said, she had GREAT FAITH.  She was a non-Jew!

 

Faith was only to be found in Israel.  Faith was something only for the Jews.  The Blessings of Faith was for insiders ONLY.  OUTSIDERS were beyond redemption…beyond grace…beyond the blessings of God.

 

So much for our prejudices, our preconceived notions, our bias, and our preconception…  God will do, WHAT God will do.

 

Now deal with that!

And she was an “outsider!”

 

SO, how do YOU DO when it comes to dealing with OUTSIDER’s?

 

Amen.