August 16

Matthew 15:25-28

“Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” vs. 28

Ironies abound as Jesus continues his ministry to the scattered Jews of the Gentile world. Matthew has carefully recounted the disciples’ melt-down on the Sea of Galilee where they are chastised for their miniscule faith convictions. Not only did Peter get scolded, the whole boatload got an earful from Jesus. And in the very next section of his gospel Matthew tells the story of the Canaanite woman. She comes to Jesus in desperation, ignores the taunts of the disciples, and counters Jesus’ put-down with a remarkable statement of faith. “I may be a dog,” she says to Jesus, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus is impressed with her great faith–and her daughter was healed. Twelve proud religious Jewish men are the puny-faithed-folks. One much maligned, out-sider, woman is the great-faith-exemplar! It’s an absolutely stunning and rich story, one that rings true to every follower of Jesus down to the present. We’ve all seen it. Pious, pew-sitting Christians panic in the face of adversity, while people barely on the fringes of respectable society live totally by faith. Their trust, in spite of their circumstances, is complete–and God sustains them! God alone is their refuge and strength–not status, not wealth, not respectability–and God hears their prayers and they find strength in their weakness.

Thought for the Day: Who has surprised me with their faith?

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