THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

December 21

Text: Matthew 15:21-23

And Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from that region, and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed."  But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, "Send her away, for she is shouting out after us."  (NASB)

Matthew saw in Jesus a man committed to Godís willóeven when his disciples did not understand.  Jesus was sent to the Jewish people (Matthew 15:24; 4:23; Romans 1:16).  He sent his disciples to Jewish people (Matthew 10:5, 6).  Jesus taught in synagogues (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 13:54; Luke 4:14, 15; John 18:20).  There are numerous biblical statements about Jesus teaching in synagogues or the temple area, but no statement about him teaching a gentile assembly. 

When Jesus addressed gentiles, he addressed an individual who possessed extraordinary faith (see Matthew 8:10-13 and 15:21-28).  In those instances Jesus responded to requests but was not involved in teaching.  In each instance the gentile person came with the extraordinary faith and did not develop that faith on that occasion as a result of Jesusí teachings at that time.

It is possible that the Samaritans were partially Jewish.  If that is correct, John 4 would not be an example of Jesus teaching gentiles.

Had the Jewish people of Jesusí time had a correct understanding of promises/prophesies/statements such as Genesis 12:3; 2 Samuel 7:16; and Isaiah 49:6, they would have seen themselves as stepping stones to the salvation of all nations (see Jesusí statements in Matthew 5:17-20; 8:11, 12; and John 10:16). Instead, they saw themselves as the only people God loved.  In that mistaken conviction, they excluded themselves from Godís kingdom.

Never make the mistake of believing that God thinks like you think, or is controlled by your logic, or depends on your reasoning, or has the same emotional priorities you have.  Jesus became the Lord and is the Christ.  God is the Father, the supreme One.  We as Christians are the adopted children who serve.  Never forget we are not the Christ, not the Father, but those who serve.  Serve wellólet God be God!

Suggestion for reflection: What does it mean to serve?  (Read Isaiah 55:6-11.)

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