Today’s Reading: Matthew 15:21-28
Daily Lectionary: Genesis 16:1-9, 15-17:22; Mark 6:1-13
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:27)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. She is desperate. She has no one to turn to. Her daughter is deeply oppressed by a demon. The woman is at the end of her rope. Jesus is all she has left. She heard He was coming into her region, the district of Tyre and Sidon, the far north coast county named after the great-grandson of Noah.
The problem is, she’s a Canaanite. Canaanites were Gentiles, idolaters, enemies of Israel and God. She has no business talking to a Jewish rabbi. Yet somehow she knows Jesus can help. She’s heard the stories of His healing and miracles. So she comes with all boldness and confidence: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David. . . “
Strange words coming from the lips of a Canaanite. “Son of David” is Israelite talk. This is the language of the faithful expecting the promised Messiah.
But isn’t that how it is for us, too? That we, who have no right to claim any favor from God, are given the right to be called sons of God. That’s the promise of Holy Baptism. We were Gentiles, idolaters, and enemies of God. But then God threw us into the water, washed us, and gave us a new identity. We’re transformed and given the faith of Abraham. Children of the promise. Heirs with Christ. We pray, “Our Father,” in all boldness and confidence as dear children ask their dear father.
We pray the same way the Canaanite woman did: “Yes, Lord. You’re right about me. I am a poor, miserable, mangy, mutt of a sinner.” And yet He cleanses you from all sin. Your Baptism is a divine flea bath, washing away all your sin.
Jesus gives more than a crumb. Jesus gives you Himself. Jesus became the outsider and the dog for you. Jesus died for the Canaanite woman and for you. Jesus died in humility in order to raise you up and seat you at His table, not as dogs but as His beloved Bride. Where we would settle for a crumb, Christ gives a feast, His Body and His Blood shed for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.