The love of a mother,
& the Love of The Father
† I.H.S †
As you go through life, may you be assured of the love God has for you, love that will go to extreme measure to free you from all that oppresses
What this isn’t about/What it is
As I preach about the gospel lesson this morning, I need to make something clear.
Yes, I know there are demons, and I am sure this lady’s story is exact and true. It isn’t some parable. Her daughter had a demon.
Okay, now onto what the story is really about, the love of a parent for their child.
The love of a mother,
and the love of the Father.
Understanding the depth of that love will reveal the cross, and the reason that Jesus took a side trip from his home into a spiritual no man’s land.
It will also make the difference in your life, for you are His beloved child.
You see, the demons in this passage – they aren’t relevant, they are a side note. Although in a way it would be easier to preach about fighting them.
It is the love that matters, the love that we so desperately need to know.
The Love of a Mother
I don’t even think Jesus had unpacked at the home he was staying at when she showed up. A desperate mom, looking for something to help her very young daughter.
I don’t have to have you imagine the pain, the desperation that leads her into Jesus presence the moment people realization it is a Jewish Rabbi – maybe even Messiah that has come into their presence.
But I will remind you that she is so desperate that she breaks every cultural norm, every piece of etiquette, and risks his very anger. For to be in the presence of a woman in such situation would render Jesus unfit to teach as a rabbi. As a man of God, being that close to someone outside the people of God would also render him unclean and able to serve, and to do a miracle for her?
She throws all decorum aside – she wants her daughter to be healed, to be delivered to, to be right. When I first read that she fell at Jesus’ feet, I thought the word there would be the root word for worship – to bow and lay prostrate before someone, a position of worship, adoration, honor.
It’s not, is the word we get Pepto in Pepto-Bismol from, she collapses in front on him, a withering wreck. And her only hope? A hyped up prophet from a country that hasn’t produced anything of value in 400 years….
She tosses everything aside, all pride, all loyalty to her people, everything if only there were hope.
She is so desperate she pleads, she begs, with everything she has. Heck, she even argues for table scraps from this prophet from that oddball place with the oddball religion.
Such is the love for her daughter.
Even a daughter who, obviously, wasn’t easy to care for, wasn’t easy to love.
A daughter who was more trouble than any can imagine, a daughter who would be un-lovable, even one most people would be afraid of, except for a parent. No one else would care, no one else would endure, but somehow she did.
As she collapses before Jesus, as she needed to depend on someone becomes more and more apparent, her responses grow stronger as if she intuitively knows that Jesus can help.
How could she know the love of God the Father, a God she was unfamiliar with, a love that would be revealed in Jesus coming near?
The Desperate Love of the Father
We have the benefit of hearing these stories, of knowing, even if we sometimes forget, a little bit about the depth of God’s love. Usually, I ask Chris to say the word in Hebrew, (cHesed) but I think I want to keep our guest musician dry this morning.
cHesed – the love that would go to any length for the one who is loved. That would go to any length to restore that which is broken,
it would drive a woman to the feet of a crazy prophet…
The same love that would drive a Father to send His only Son to her.
I want you to hear something in this passage again. I want you to see it, think about it.
He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret
He couldn’t keep it a secret. He wasn’t able to another translation says, The Greek uses the word from where we get dynamic, dynamo, dynamite. He was without any power in this instance. The One through whom the universe was spoken into being, the one whose words sent demons scurrying, who calmed seas, whose words brought the dead to life, who spoke forgiveness and taught with authority.
He couldn’t keep where he went on vacation secret from anyone.
It’s as if someone was letting people know – here’s the prophet, here is your hope!
Because immediately, she found him. And right after that, Jesus leaves the area and goes back to Galilee. It is as if this wasn’t really a vacation, a chance to get away, but simply a trip to her, a divine appointment.
Think about this what stopped him, what took away his power to remain incognito? What could make Jesus the Messiah incapable, powerless, vulnerable?
Jesus couldn’t keep his presence secret because God sent Him to be there, for this lady, for this daughter who would collapse at Jesus’ feet.
Because God loved her even as He loves us. He didn’t send him just to deliver the child from the demon. Jesus obediently went where the Father sent them, to deliver them from everything that oppresses them.
Even as He delivers us.
Even as Jesus was sent to us. Even as He was sent to die on the cross for us.
Even though we weren’t clean and holy. Even though Jesus would have to dwell in our sinfulness, even as He would take on every sin we committed. Even if we acted like we were demon possessed. Even if our battle with sin is beyond belief.
Isaiah prophesied that the Father would lay every sin we’ve committed on Jesus. His suffering and death would cleanse us, make us righteous, heal us.
That is what we have to understand – God doesn’t will that any would perish, God won’t let anything separate us from His love,
God gave us this ministry as well, this ministry of reconciling everything to Him, even as we plead with people to be reconciled to God.
As we enter this new school year, as we swing into fall, we are going to see this over and over, that God wants us to be in communion with Him. That He loves us, that He will deliver us from evil. And that He sends us out, with His Spirit, to bring other broken people home to Him. To free others that are oppressed, by sharing with them His love.
It’s not about getting the scraps from the table. It isn’t about our being “not good enough”
It is about even if we are there, completely collapsed, knowing God will restore us and care for us, and comfort us. That He will heal those we bring to Him.
The Father’s love is that deep. And that love is revealed to us in the cross of Christ, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, in the promises of our baptism, and the feast that is but a small sample of the feast to come.
May you dwell in God’s peace, the peace beyond anyone’s understanding, assured that you will be kept in that peace by Jesus. For He has come to us, to deliver us from all evil. AMEN.