Thought for the week: Understanding the power of the scripture, and the power of God
St Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 15, verses 21-28 relates the unusual story of how Jesus, having moved out of Israel into what we know as Lebanon, encounters an outsider to Israel, who shouts at him to have pity on her as her daughter is possessed by a devil.
Jesus keeps on walking, in silence, and she follows.
Falling at Jesus’ feet, the woman cried, "Help me, sir." He says: ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs".’
The woman replies: ‘Yes, Lord, and yet the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’
God’s mercy is so great that even the tiny bit that escapes from the chosen ones is enough for healing and for doing good. This is what faith means.
Jesus responds to this faith instantly, recognising that His mission has expanded. A poor woman has shown him this much: He did not come just for the children of Israel. His mercy extends to everyone. Full of admiration, He responds, first to her great faith, and then to her wish for her daughter:
"Your faith is great. Your daughter is well."
Jesus crossed the boundaries. He always has a heart and a mission to the outsiders, to lift them up, to heal and restore them, to give them a place in God’s family. Like Jesus, we need to get outside of our comfort zones, out of familiar territory and seek to know and love those that we think of as outsiders.
So what does it mean to step out of complacency and contempt and cross the line? Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing to respect difference, and to love one’s enemies, as Jesus has instructed. That’s the Gospel, and that’s the power of God.