Summary: Jesus provoked faith in different people in different ways, but he was consistently the object of faith, and faith meant taking him at his Word.
Jesus, the Faith Provoker
1. A Catholic priest, a Baptist evangelist, and an Assembly of God minister were in a row boat in the middle of a pond fishing. None of them had caught anything all day.
The evangelist stands up, says he needs to go to the bathroom climbs out of the boat and walks on the water to shore. He comes back ten minutes later the same way.
Then the minister needs to go to the bathroom, too, so he climbs out of the boat and walks on the water to shore. He comes back the same way ten minutes later.
The priest looks at both of them and decides that his faith is just as strong as his fishing buddies and that he can walk on water, too. He stands up and excuses himself. As he steps out, he makes a big splash down into the water.
The evangelist looks at the minister and says," I suppose we should have told him where the rocks were."
2. The line between faith and presumption is an important line. God does not work miracles for our convenience, but he does answer prayer in accord with his will.
3. Both prayer and faith are complicated subjects, and we learn about them in little bits and pieces, here and there.
Main Idea: Jesus provoked faith in different people in different ways, but he was consistently the object of faith, and faith meant taking him at his Word.
I. Jesus Provoked Faith By Verbally Sparring with A Woman About Her STATUS Before Him (7:24-30)
A. A DESPERATE problem (24-25)
B. A personal DISADVANTAGE: she was a gentile (26)
1. We all want to be included and hate to be left out
C. A REEFUSAL by Jesus on the basis of his mission to the Jews (27)
Matthew 15:23-24, 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.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
1. Pet dogs wait until everyone else is fed
2. Jesus had many Jews to minister to…
3. We wonder what non-verbal looks Jesus gave to this woman
4. The school of Hillel vs. the school of Shammai comes into play here
5. Romans 11:17-18 also comes into play: we gentile believers need to understand that God has blessed us though we were in the position of this woman; instead of getting proud, we need to understand that we are blessed because we are connected to the heritage of the godly Jewish people…
“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”
D. The woman’s AMAZING reply: even dogs eat the crumbs (28)
If this woman was arrogant, she would have raised a fit. True faith can humble you as you recognize your complete vulnerability before Messiah
Ginny has another person’s liver — a man donated, died, & now Ginny benefits. She appreciates that man, she doesn’t mock him. Paul tells us that Jewish unbelief is inexcusable from one end, but, from the other, it means that gentile believers are blessed as equals. We should appreciate that fact. Not owed.
1. Not just whit, chutzpah, BOLDNESS bordering on nerve
2. What God responds to: HUMILITY and bold FAITH
3. Also a PORTENT: Gospel shift from Jewish territory to gentiles
E. Jesus GRANTS the healing (29-30)
Matthew 15:28, Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
F. When Jesus spars with US
• Abraham bargaining with God
• Jacob wrestling with God
• Paul asking the Lord three times to take away his thorn in the flesh
• What are you and God sparring about? Or do you think sparring is wrong?
• Parable of the Unjust Judge? Why is God this way? Who knows. He is.
II. Jesus Provoked Faith by COMMUNICATING to a Deaf Man in a Way He Could Understand (31-37)
A. The faith of others: brought to Jesus by FRIENDS (31-32)
1. Throughout history, people have formed networks of friends; safety net.
2. Nowadays, because of technology, more isolated people w/out friends
3. Same thing in churches; people want a shrine to visit, not a spiritual family.
4. When we fail to associate with others, we are denying part of being human.
B. Jesus deals with him PRIVATELY (33a)
C. He MIMES what he is doing (33b-34)