Midweek Wake-Up, May 15th, 2019
If you tuned in last week, I wrote about the spiritual battle that rages inside of us, on a daily basis, in so many areas and facets of our lives. One of those areas, I believe, is the battle that rages when we take up God’s Word to read and delight in. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7, and the words that Jesus speaks. If you’re like me, for so many years I wondered, does Jesus really speak to this woman in this fashion? As she pleads for her daughter to be healed, of an unclean spirit, Jesus looks at her and states “it’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs”. It is perfectly natural to wrestle with Jesus’ seeming unkind comment. But I also believe it’s a spiritual wrestle which keeps us, from discovering what Jesus is saying to you and I through this passage, and not just to this pagan, Gentile woman.
So here’s another question to go with it: ‘do you see yourself as the dog in this story as well’? The dog who is seeking to grab ahold of the scraps of mercy and grace from the table of Jesus. In our western world that is obsessed with our rights, with not being offended, with getting that which we deserve, Tim Keller points out how this woman is displaying rightless assertiveness. He goes on to state “she’s not saying ‘Lord, give me what I deserve on the basis of my goodness’ but rather she’s saying ‘give me what I don’t deserve on the basis of your goodness – and I need it now’”. There is not time for her to be offended or to claim her rights, because she is well aware that it’s not her goodness that will accomplish anything, but rather the goodness of Christ. She is well aware of her standing before a Holy God, seeming to grasp the gospel in greater depth, then the Jewish crowd around her.
Which brings us back to the question, do we see ourselves as the dogs in the story? As those who are begging for what we don’t deserve, on the basis of the goodness of Jesus Christ? And as a result, again grasping the incredible wonder of the gospel, receiving mercy and kindness because of Jesus Christ (interesting how it always comes back to that right?). So I encourage you this morning NSC, as the woman in this story, rather than fighting for your rights, bask in the wonder of the gospel and the delight of feasting from the scraps of the banquet table!