We are fools for the sake of Christ (1 Cor 4:10)
This is one of my favourite bible verses as I have played the fool a number of times for Christ or otherwise. However, I am an particularly taken with this verse being an April Fool's baby being born on April 1st
Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Sermon August 14, 2016 12th Sunday after Trinity
us put today’s Gospel into the context of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has just come from the territory of
Tyre. Tyre was a prosperous Roman port
city and was Gentile i.e. non-Jewish. While he was there he healed the daughter
of the Syrophoenician woman—a Gentile.
This miracle is well known because Jesus initially rejects the woman’s
request to heal her daughter. He tells
her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s
food and throw it to the dogs.” This
rejection by Jesus is surprizing as it is not typically how we understand
Jesus’ response to people who come to him for healing. It is particularly harsh comparing the
Gentiles to dogs.
when the woman persists and asks again despite this rather harsh rejection, she
answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’
29Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your
daughter.’ 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon
gone. Jesus relents and heals the
way of understanding this difficult passage is that Jesus had a growing
awareness that he had come to bring the Good News not just to the Jews but also
to the Gentiles— that is to the whole world.
This is the fulfillment of the visit of the Magi – those non-Jewish wise
men who came to Bethlehem to worship the new born King of the Jews.
this growing awareness of his divine purpose he returns to familiar territory
through the Sea of Galilee to Decapolis.
Here he has another encounter with someone who is in need of
healing. It is both similar and
different to the encounter with the Syrophoenician woman. In both cases he receives a request to heal
someone. However, here he does not
initially reject the request. Rather he
does not hesitate and performs the miracle in a very personal way. He speaks to him in Aramaic, his native
language, “Ephphatha”, which means “be open”.
Jesus touches the man directly putting his fingers in his ears and using
his spittle to free his tongue and free his speech.
woman’s daughter was not even present—it was a long distance healing. Here Jesus deals directly and intimately with
the man and heals him of his deafness and speech impediment. It is as if this
man is close to his heart. He has come
home to his people with a renewed sense of mission—one that must begin at home
but is meant for the whole world—both Jewish and Gentile. He opens the ears of this man who is one of
his people. He wants them to be open to hear
his message and understand the Good News that he is bringing to them and to the
world. Jesus frees his tongue to enable
him to speak of that Good News.
he does something which is a surprize.
He tells the people there not to say anything about what he has done. It
is as if he is not sure he is ready to have the Good News preached aloud to the
world. Of course the good news of this
miracle and what it means cannot be contained.
He had done all things well; he is the one who makes the deaf to hear
and the dumb to speak.
Good News was foretold by the prophet Isaiah:
5 Then will the eyes of the blind
and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
is what the Kingdom of God will be like.
We are now blind but we will have eyes to see that Glory. We are now deaf but we will have ears to
hear. We now are like those who limp
through life but we will leap like the deer at the water brook.
lives are now as one thirsting in the dessert but like the Samaritan woman at
the well we will receive the water of eternal life and will never thirst again. That is the Good News for us today as it was
for those people in the Jewish world two thousand years ago. Jesus is giving us the Good News of the
coming of God’s Kingdom. If we have ears
that have been opened we will hear his message for us. But just hearing it is not enough we must
loosen our tongues and speak that Good News to our neighbours and to the