Daily Scripture Passage: Psalm 106:1-5

Psalm 106:1-5 (ESV)

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

106 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
    or declare all his praise?
Blessed are they who observe justice,
    who do righteousness at all times!

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
    help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
    that I may glory with your inheritance.


Thoughts to Ponder from Matthew 15:21-28

Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV)

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”And her daughter was healed instantly.

“O woman, great is your faith!” (Matthew 15:28).

Can you imagine what must have been going through the disciples’ minds when Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter and commended her faith? How did this woman deserve any attention at all? She was a pagan, after all, outside of God’s covenant with Israel. Surely there were plenty of needy Jews whom he should have tended to instead. No wonder the disciples tried to convince Jesus to send her away. But he didn’t.

There are other instances in the Gospels when Jesus praised the faith of an outsider, someone who was considered unclean. One example is the centurion who told Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was amazed at this man’s trust, and replied, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith” (Matthew 8:8, 10). Or we could think of the woman who had suffered from a bleeding disorder for years. She came up behind Jesus, touched his cloak, and was healed. Discovering her, Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you” (Mark 5:34). Both the pagan centurion and the hemorrhaging woman were considered unclean, and yet Jesus praised them and paid them special attention.

In singling out people like these, Jesus was doing more than simply healing desperate souls. He was also showing his disciples that faith and trust were the keys to experiencing his power. Proximity to him didn’t matter, and neither did it make a difference if they knew their doctrine better than other people. More than anything else, it was a person’s disposition that made the difference.

Today’s reading tells us that Jesus welcomes anyone who comes to him with an open, humble, and willing heart. If unbelievers like the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion found mercy when they came to Jesus, surely we can! Jesus doesn’t discriminate. His arms are open wide, eager to embrace all of us. May we all take our cue from this great woman of faith. May we find hope and inspiration in the disposition of this unnamed, humble, and persistent Gentile!

Jesus, I am so undeserving of your mercy, but I ask in faith. Just say the word, and I will be healed. Amen.

wau


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