Thirteenth Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
August 25, 1996
(For many years, playing football at Northwestern University was an exercise in frustration. What must it have been like to play week after week knowing that every team you will face fully expects to plant you into the football field. Since then, an incredible transformation in Northwestern's football program has taken place leading to their appearance in the last Rose Bowl. But for my money, I am far more impressed with the commitment of those who played without a hope of victory.)
HUMAN PRIDE CANNOT CO-EXIST WITH FAITH IN CHRIST.
The Caanite woman in our text does not let her pride stand in her way as she encounters Christ.
Here is a woman who has been a looser at life, but absolutely refuses to give up.
She is a non-Jew from a heathen nation.
By her request, she is acknowledging that her Caanite gods have failed her and now she is literally begging at the gates of a foreign God for help.
Can you picture her?
Desperate, screaming at the top of her lungs above the noise of the crowd to gain attention from the Teacher.
Desperate that her daughter might be delivered from a pitiable state of demon possession.
So desperate that she throws her pride to the wind and cries out: "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession!"
Now hear Jesus' remarkable response:
First He refuses to acknowledge her presence.
Next, He "rubs her nose" in the fact that she has no claim on the faith of Israel.
Finally He tells her: "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."
Pride has always separated people from God.
Pride was Satan's downfall. (Is. 14:12-15)
Pride was the downfall of humanity. (Gen. 3:4-6)
Our pride still separates people from God.
In our pride, we prefer to trust in our material possessions instead of Christ.
In our pride, we prefer to trust in our own ability to over come our sins.
In our pride, we fail to comprehend that we can have no standing at all with God apart from Christ.
Our puny attempts to justify ourselves before God are vanity in action.
The Caanite woman understood perfectly...she had nothing to offer, only a plea for mercy.
Before the awesome thrown of God, pride goes out the window.
WHEN CHRIST COULD HAVE BEEN PROUD, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF FOR US.
He was the one human being who could stand before His holy Father.
He was, Himself, divine...God in the flesh. (Is. 9:6)
He humbled Himself by living as one of us...as a man.
His life bears eloquent testimony that He came to humble Himself for us.
Born the infant of a poor family.
Subject to the cruelty of others.
Knew the pain of loosing a loved one.
Felt the betrayal of a trusted "friend".
Christ humbled Himself in a way which surpasses all other human humiliation.
God allows Himself to be abused by His very own creatures...unthinkable!
God allows Himself to receive our eternal punishment...unfathomable! (Phi. 2:5-8)
IN THE HUMILITY OF FAITH, LET US LAY OUR LIVES BEFORE HIS FEET.
Here we too lean from the Caanite woman the reflection of such humility:
She did not come demanding her "rights"!
Instead she acknowledges her unworthiness to receive anything from Jesus.
She acknowledged she wasn't an Israelite,
She steadfastly clung in faith to Him alone...her only hope.
In doing so, she unswervingly trusts only in His mercy...a free gift!
Marvel at the humility of the Caanite woman:
She hides nothing of herself before Him.
There is only His compassion, forgiveness and mercy.
We desperately need to learn who we are before God from this woman:
Cling to Him...never let go.
Jesus will make us more than we could ever make of ourselves as He did for this woman.
It is God's intention that we have joy in Him and no other...Why refuse the honor?
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