Penrith Road, Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough TS3 7JR
Marion’s Weekly Reflection
A word that comes to mind when we read of Jesus healing people in ‘authority’. The Roman Centurion recognised it in Jesus, someone who could command and the command would always be obeyed. It was said of Jesus when he spoke God’s message that he spoke with authority and not like one of the Scribes. It amazed his listeners that the so-called son of a carpenter could teach them more than the religious leaders could.
Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee causing his disciples to say ’What manner of man is this even the wind and the waves obey him? So, it is not surprising to read that his reputation was growing and not only Jews but Gentiles were drawn to him. Yet Jesus makes it clear that his message is first of all for the Jews. Eventually it would be for the whole world but he has come to fulfil the Law given by Moses, that is to make the Jewish people understand what God requited of them, and to free them from the restrictions imposed upon them by man-made rules.
The Gentiles also heard his message and saw healings he performed. Some dare to approach him and ask for help. When he went into Gentile territory a Syro-Phoenician woman followed him begging ‘Son of David my daughter is ill have pity on me’. In calling him Son of David she is acknowledging his Messiahship, something the Jews do not recognise. It’s odd to us that Jesus seemed to ignore her. The disciples would have sent her away but Jesus has seen her real need and understands what she feels. She is not just someone outside their faith who is making a nuisance of herself. The presence of Jesus breaks through the barriers of race and tradition. (I’d like to call her Ruth – a heroine of Jewish history who was also a Gentile and the grandmother of King David). So, Jesus challenges her ‘Is it right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs’ (Matthew 15 v 26). Anyone hearing that might have taken offence but she seemed to know what he meant and was not offended. Ruth responded with a quick repartee ‘Even dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the master’s table’. If Jesus response surprised us then Ruth’s surprises us even more.