The Rev. William Klock: “Dogs” (Matthew 15:21-28)
Here is a sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent from Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia which is titled Dogs. It is based on Matthew 15:21-28, and Fr. Bill writes about the woman in this passage:
When Jesus told her that he had come only for the lost sheep of Israel she responded: “But even the dogs eat what falls from the children’s table.” She understood, she accepted that Jesus had come to redeem Israel. She understood that his mission wasn’t a mission to the gentiles. That would have bypassed and undermined the Lord’s covenant promises. But she was okay with that because somehow she also knew what Israel was called to be and to do. She knew who the Messiah was and what he was called to do. She addresses Jesus as “Son of David”—his messianic title that even the disciples hadn’t yet fully grasped. And she knows that if he is the Messiah, his goal is to fulfil the Lord’s promises to Israel so that his greatness and his mercy will be proclaimed to the gentiles—to people like her. She somehow knows that through the Messiah, the gentiles will be able to participate in the life of Israel, in the life of God’s covenant people. And so she grabs hold of Jesus in faith and insists. His mission may not be the gentiles, but that doesn’t mean the gentiles can’t and won’t come to him.
This woman has hope because she understands what the Lord and what his kingdom are all about. She has hope because she knows what the Messiah is ushering in. And even though she’s envisioning Easter—even envisioning Pentecost—while Jesus hasn’t even made it to the cross, by her faith she reaches into that future and drags it into the present. Jesus sees her faith and can’t help but make her daughter well.
Brothers and Sisters, each of us has reached out to Jesus through the waters of baptism—reached out in faith in order to take part in the life of Israel, in the life of God’s people. By that faith—not through what we’ve done, not because of who we are, but by that faith—we’ve been grafted into the people of God, we’ve been made part of the body of Christ, we’ve been incorporated into the story. By faith we’ve each been given a part to play in that story and the Holy Spirit has given us fruit to bear and gifts to use as we work together as Jesus’ people to preach, to proclaim, to live and to make real the story of Israel, the story of God’s faithfulness to the world. God’s intent is to bless—to redeem, to restore, to make whole, to make new—his world through his people. In Jesus we’ve seen what the kingdom of God is like. When we gather as the Church we see a glimpse of the kingdom as it will one day be. As we come to the Table Jesus gives us a foretaste of the great banquet that awaits us. All of these things are gifts of grace. They strengthen our faith in the faithfulness of God and in that they give us hope. But, Brothers and Sisters, let us live in faith as the woman in the Gospel. Again, Jesus wasn’t even ready for the cross, but she was ready for Easter. You and I live in hope of God’s future, but don’t stop there. Live in hope and faith, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in the world to make God’s future a reality here and now. Live in hope and faith, truly living in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord, proclaiming his kingdom and making it known here and now.
And that is indeed a good message for our time: that we should truly live in hope and faith, trusting in His promises and proclaiming His gospel. If you’d like to hear this excellent message, you can do so here or try the player below.