17 February 2016

Syrophoenician Woman: I Won't Take No

Matthew 15:21-28

O Lord, have mercy!
Hear me, and help!
Don't walk away -
please listen to me.
O Son of David,
I know who you are:
I know of your power;
I believe in your love.

O Lord, have mercy!
Why this repulse?
You turn me away
and dash my last hope.
Your calling's elsewhere -
my need not your priority.
In the face of such coldness,
can I believe you are love?

O Lord, have mercy!
Why these harsh words?
Though I cannot deny
I have no claim on you,
no right to your help.
And yet, o Lord,
I will desperately believe,
believe despite all that you are love.

Don't go
before you bless me.
Don't go
without dropping
a few crumbs for me,
at my undeserving feet.
I may not deserve you
but still I refuse
to stop knocking on your door,
demanding your love.

O Lord, have mercy!
My faith won't let you go.
I won't take a no
but cling to your grace
and count on your love.


[13. February 2013]

With references to Jacob's wrestling with God and the parable of the asking friend in Lk 11.

Last Sunday I heard a sermon on this text; a lot of this is based on what I learnt from that sermon.
Why does Jesus turn the woman away? The pastor pointed out that Jesus had a specific calling to help the people of Israel first. Mission to the gentiles started afterwards. His priority was His calling. But here's what this woman did:

  • She recognised Jesus as the Messiah: she called Him the Son of David. She believed in Him.
  • She did not fight against his (absolutely not flattering, even unfriendly) remark where He compared the gentiles to dogs. Instead she acknowledged that she did not have a claim on His help. And I think this is important to realise: that we don't have a "right" to have our prayers answered. We do not actually deserve Jesus at all. So we can't demand anything from Him in that way; He doesn't "have" to give us anything.
  • But this woman refuses to give up. She has strong faith: she believes that Jesus will help, even though He rejects her! She refuses to take no for an answer. And such persevering petitions God answers. Because they are an appeal not for something we have a "right" to receive, but to His grace. Because God WANTS us to trust in His grace and see that it is not because of what we are or are not, or what we have done, but only because of His Love that He accepts us and answers our prayers.

All is grace!

Picture by Juan de Flandes.

No comments:

Post a Comment