Summary: Purity, desperation, needs
THE TOUGH SAYINGS OF JESUS
"YOU PEOPLE ARE DOGS"
MATT 15:24-27 (p.693) July 18, 2010
My mom has this picture of Jesus over her bed. It's been there for us as long as I can remember ---so long I kind of take it for granted every week when I look at it while we watch Price is Right together.
He has long, flowing hair, a neatly trimmed beard, lily white skin, face turned toward heaven, welcoming blue eyes and there's this light coming from above that gives him a glowing complexion…he looks amazingly kind…sort of, like he wants to be my best friend.
It’s a nice picture…but I believe it's not very close to reality. I doubt there was a glowing orbit that followed Jesus around everywhere He went. I don't think he walked around staring up toward heaven and I sure don't think He had skin that "uh…Caucasian". The reality is that He looked like your very ordinary middle eastern man.
Isaiah 53: 2 tells us "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him nothing in His appearance that we should desire him."
He had no physical attributes that would set him apart as supernatural. Just an ordinary tradesman from a poor family.
At least the welcoming expression that reminds us He wants to be our best friend is right. Right?
Let's look at our text:
Matt 15:21-28 (p693)
I'd like to challenge you this morning to:
I DISCOVER A FAITH THAT MELTS BORDERS
There are some things that just look better on paper. We may like the idea of them, but they don't translate well into reality.
[For me pickled beets is one of those things. I love veggies. I like the idea of eating healthy beautiful food….and pickled beets are beautiful….they are my very favorite color in the whole world. The practical problem is the taste…
They make me physically ill….and no I don't want to try yours…they taste like purple pickled dirt. No matter how beautiful they look it still tastes awful to me]
And for us as Christians…that looks good on paper thing…can be sometimes applied to what we call unity. We champion the cause for unity and love the idea. We talk about it and study it. Every Christ follower intellectually nods their head in agreement when we talk about needy unity in the body of Christ.
Yet is most urban areas, these are literally hundreds of churches---many facing each other across the street.
Some are separated by different nuances of belief or practice...Think worship style, for instance: the regular worshippers, the charismatic worshippers, the liturgists, the readers, the silent, and those who believe in it all. I'm afraid churches separated by style preferences are, in many cases little more then cliques devoted to their own members.
But unbelievably, after all these decades many of our churches are separated by race and there's nothing wrong with recognizing cultural differences, particularly where language barriers exist.
But we have to look around and wonder…with all these church labels…how far have we really come on being a unified church in the world?
If there was ever someone who walked this earth who proved his openness to relationships, it is Jesus Christ…Samaritan woman, lepers, tax collector, out casts…He consistently associated with people who most would consider "off limits".
However, when we look at his followers in the 21st century the same spirit doesn't always exist.
If I were to ask you to explain the mission of the church of Jesus Christ…what would you say… and by the way, I bet your answer would look great on paper…like a big pile of purple pickled beets).
Your answer would be something like…"Our mission is to continue Jesus' work and spread his story"…Jesus didn't leave instruction about church structure or worship when He gave his final commission…He didn't give a list of rules about how to live a good life. His last words were ones of missions.
(MATT 28: 19-20)
He said "Go" or more correctly Jesus actually used a verb tense that says "As you are going".
He assumed his followers would be on the move…and as they were going they would be making disciples…He said they should keep going until disciples are made in every part of the earth.
Jesus last command presented the gospel out of cultural boundaries. In fact his whole point was to scale cultural walls…His story is one that is meant to break down those walls. Even though His followers might look different in different places…the message of God is supposed to be planted in every soil on the planet…Jesus began this work and He expects it to continue.
So what do we do with this story, where Jesus responds in a way that is, at least surprising, and some seems intolerant.