Summary: Part of the series "Miracles in Matthew" Jesus teaches two lessons at once, one about faith and one about loving others

A Woman of Faith

Mt. Prospect High School music and band teacher David Morrison was named Saturday night to be the 2003 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

In announcing Morrison’s selection, State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller said, “Teachers with David’s strengths and dedication are the reason Illinois education continues to improve. His commitment to helping students learn, coupled with his own passion for continuous learning make him an educator to emulate.”

Ask Morrison how music impacts his students’ learning experiences and he will likely share this with you: “This past November, our marching band traveled to New York City to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Out first stop on the trip was to the World Trade Center Ground Zero. During our visit, we were fortunate enough to be allowed to perform at the site. When the band played the “Star Spangled Banner” followed by “Amazing Grace” and a patriotic medley, the other visitors, the workers at the site, and even the police stopped to listen, as they were moved by this moment that performer and audience shared. At no time in our lives was the meaning of this music more clear in its function in our society.”

Great teachers teach on more than one level at once. There is perhaps no greater example of that than the lesson Jesus gives in our text today. He teaches two lessons to two groups of students…

The Disciples Learn About Love

22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

Jesus and his disciples have come to this non-Jewish area to get some rest away from the crowds. The Jews haven’t followed him here because they viewed this as “Pagan territory” It’s the area that Jesus uses when He pronounces woes on the cities where he performed miracles

"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matthew 11:21)

They didn’t expect Jesus to respond to this pagan woman—who they considered no better than a dog. But Jesus is silent I believe to evaluate their reaction.

They get fed up and say she’s bothering US

Jesus voices their thoughts 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Yeah, Right., but Jesus doesn’t send the woman away.

25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

26He replied, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs."

I can see him looking not at her but them. Ultimately they fail their test, but in the failure they learn a lesson—that Jesus love and care—and their responsibility is for the whole of God’s creation.

Illustration: It had been a trying week for Jeffery Collins at the Love & Action office. At five o’clock on a Friday, he was looking forward to having a quiet dinner with friends. Then the phone rang.

"Jeff! It’s Jimmy!" he heard a quivering voice say. Jimmy, who suffered from several AIDS-related illnesses, was one of his regular clients. "I’m really sick, Jeff. I’ve got a fever. Please help me."

Jeff was angry. After a 60-hour workweek, he didn’t want to hear about Jimmy. But he promised to be right over. Still, during the drive, he complained to God about the inconvenience.

The moment he walked in the door, he could smell the vomit. Jimmy was on the sofa, shivering and in distress. Jeff wiped his forehead, then got a bucket of soapy water to clean up the mess. He managed to maintain a facade of concern, even though he was raging inside.

Jimmy’s friend, Russ, who also had AIDS, came down the stairs. The odor made Russ sick, too.

As Jeff cleaned the carpet around Russ’s chair, he was ready to explode inside. Then Russ startled him. "I understand! I understand!"

"What, Russ?" Jimmy asked weakly.

"I understand who Jesus is," Russ said through tears. "He’s like Jeff!" Weeping, He hugged Russ and prayed with him. That night Russ trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior—a God who had used me to show his love in spite of myself.(Citation: Jeffrey Collins, "It Happened on a Friday," Christian Reader (March/April 1998), Vol. 36, no. 2)

There’s a lesson still to be learned for all of us—Jesus’ mission is not for our own personal fulfillment alone—the Good News and the Love of God Through us which proves that it is good news is for even those we consider undeserving.

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