Our scripture this week is Matthew 15:21-28.
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus went to many regions that faithful Jews wouldn’t normally visit due to the presence of Gentiles, those not of the Jewish faith, with whom they did not associate. Jesus loved everyone regardless of their heritage or background, and wanted His disciples to see that everyone is a child of God. By visiting Samaria, Tyre and other so called pagan regions, He taught them the importance of reaching out beyond their own community.
We are called to be aware of the issues in our society and in our world, and to share the love of Christ with them by our words and actions. We may never know them but we know they are there and we know we are called to be in ministry to them, regardless of their location, nationality or situation. Jesus didn’t look at the labels the society of that time placed on people and we are called to love others for who they truly are as well.
We all receive the challenge from Jesus to go beyond our comfort zone, to do what is needed for those we may not have associated with previously. He warned that if we “greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matt. 5:47) and if we are truly His followers, more is expected of us. God has placed a call on our lives to go and do in the world, to be the presence of Christ with those in need.
Gracious God, we have been blessed beyond measure and we know that these gifts are for us to share. Help us to hear Your call and see how we can meet the needs of the world in Your name. Amen.