Wednesday, February 24, 2016

True Worship from the Underdog Woman

I was reading Matthew this morning and was struck by the phrase in Matthew 15:25 where this woman worshiped Christ simply by making request of Him. I then read this article and found it very encouraging. 


  Matthew 15:21, 22

  Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.


The phraseology this Canaanite woman uses is most enlightening. She approaches Jesus using a phrase made popular by Jews who were in need of healing. “Have mercy on me, Son of David,” they would cry whenever Jesus approached. Why did they refer to Jesus as “Son of David”? A thousand years earlier, a prophecy was given to David that he would have a Son, a descendant who would reign forever—Messiah. And when Messiah came, the lame would walk and blind eyes would be opened. Consequently, the Jews who recognized Jesus as their Messiah called Him “Son of David.” Now suddenly, this Canaanite lady, upon hearing of Jesus’ coming, searched for the most appropriate way to address Him. Having heard Him referred to as “Son of David” by Jews lining His path, she borrowed the phrase from them.


  Matthew 15:23 (a)
  But he answered her not a word.


If ever there were a situation to which I would think Jesus would respond quickly, it would be to a mother crying helplessly over her child. Yet, here this crying woman came to Jesus, and He answered her not a word.

  Matthew 15:23 (b)
  And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.


Her tears, no doubt, were having an effect on the disciples, and they came to Jesus, saying, “Lord, send her away. She’s bothering us.”


  Matthew 15:24
  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


If I were this woman, I think at this point I would have slunk away in despair. After all, she had nothing going for her. Her race was against her. She was a Canaanite—an enemy of the Israelites. Her sex was against her. She was a woman—in a time where women were held in low esteem. Even the disciples were against her, as they begged Jesus to send her away. But you’ve got to admire this lady because she didn’t give up. And Jesus knew she wouldn’t. You see, Jesus was not trying to be difficult with her. Rather, He was drawing out an understanding from her that would be helpful not only in her situation specifically, but to us and to all generations historically. Watch what happens.


  Matthew 15:25
  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.


No longer concerned about the right phraseology and the proper presentation, in desperation and openness, she worships Jesus. In simplicity, she says, “Lord, save me,” and a miracle was underway.
Sometimes when we’re going through tough times, we hear how someone else prays, and we think, That must be the key. King James English is what moves the hand of God. So we pray, “Father, I thankest Thee that Thou beholdest the cries of all of Thy creation. Now, Father, in Thy magnificence and benevolence, have mercy upon me in my situation.” And nothing happens. Or we hear someone share how they lifted their hand to the Lord, and He reached down and pulled them out of their depression. And we say, “Now how high did you hold your hand? Was it your right hand or your left hand?”
This Canaanite woman was in that same situation. She had the formula, but she failed miserably until she threw her formula aside and came in brokenness and openness to worship Jesus. Worship works where formulas fail. The word “worship,” or proskuneo in Greek means, “to turn and kiss.” Guys, when you kiss your wives, hopefully you don’t follow a ten-step program to better kissing. I mean, it needs to be spontaneous and expressive, simple and sincere. The same is true of worship. Worship is not a procedure we follow. It’s creative and spontaneous, simple and sincere.... 


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