Sermon Illustrations

Our dog Ami sometimes jumps up on a chair while we are eating dinner and looks longingly at what we are eating hoping for a handout. She closes her eyes, as if in closing her eyes we won’t notice she’s there. This is her passive approach. But if that doesn’t work and she’s particularly hungry and what we are eating is meat-based, she may adopt her more aggressive style which is to utter a little growl that says “gimme food” and make a little snapping motion with her mouth as if to say “…and stick it in ’ere!” Of course she runs a big risk in adopting this more aggressive approach, because while we may be willing to accept her presence at the table with her eyes closed she is very likely to be roused on and sent away if she tries this more aggressive stance. But if she’s hungry enough it’s a risk she’s prepared to take. The Syro-Phoenician woman who asked jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter seems to have a similar strategy and to run a similar risk. She approaches Jesus and calls out for mercy but when he seems to ignore her and dismiss her she gets more insistent. When he says, “It is not right to feed the children’s food to the dogs” she growls back and snaps out, “Yes it is. For even the dogs eat the food that falls from the table.” Jesus sees great faith behind her aggressive petition and her strategy pays off. When this woman went home she found the demon had left her daughter and she was once again in her right mind. And it was all because of the compassion of a loving God and the insistence of her faith against all the odds that she would be heard. Lord give us such faith!