The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reminiscere Sunday - The Second Sunday in Lent, 2015. Matthew 15:21-28.
The Woman of Faith



Reminiscere Sunday, The Second Sunday in Lent, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #652   I Lay My Sins on Jesus              1:24
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 454            Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire     1:41


Patient Continuance


The Hymn # 281                 The Savior Calls               1:29
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 374                 Grace Tis a Charming Sound 1:91

KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God,even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

KJV Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Second Sunday In Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that He may strengthen our hearts and confirm our faith and hope in Thy grace and mercy, so that, although we have reason to fear because of our conscience, our sin, and our unworthiness, we may nevertheless, with the woman of Canaan, hold fast to Thy grace, and in every trial and temptation find Thee a very present help and refuge, through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.






Patient Continuance

KJV Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

This is a woman of faith, because she is confessing the true role of Jesus from the beginning. As we read in many texts, “The report (or sermon) went out…” The Promises of God were being broadcast by all the people who listened to Jesus and watched Him perform miracles. That was the original form of social networking – word of mouth.

We do not need to know how she came to this faith, because we know her faith from its fruit – her confession of faith. If we find apples growing on a tree, we do not ask, “Is this an apple tree?” The next illogical question would be, “Did someone plant this tree?” The original (historical) Johnny Appleseed did that. He planted acres and acres of apples, which is why they were there.

So we know that the woman heard the Gospel from others, and came to Jesus, asking for a miracle for her daughter, grievously vexed with a devil. Now we might say suffering from seizures. The trouble with seizures is that the child becomes another person, distant, writhing in pain, unable to control the impulses surging through the body. Anyone with a twitch knows how that can work. The muscles get messages and act as if getting charges from a battery. It is possible to stop seeing for a time from eyes twitching for a period of time. Really bad seizures injure the person.

This was a case of great suffering and she only asked for her daughter's sake.

23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Some debate the exact meaning of this. Does it mean – Heal her and get rid of her? Or does it mean – Get rid of her?

Either way, the response of the disciples is harsh and so is the silence of Jesus. This is symbolic of our experience when we call upon the help of God and seem to get no response. The disciples remind us of how the world regards us when we are in need. Relatives do not visit their own family members with cancer. No one wants a poor person, either. If a minister is shunned by his denomination, his former friends or fake friends will shun him too. So will the laity. However, they remain groupies of known false teachers, which makes the shunning more difficult to bear.

This miracle teaches two main lessons. One is that faith which includes patient continuance. The other is the ability of God to instantly change matters through His Word and will.

3. But see in this example how Christ like a hunter exercises and chases faith in his followers in order that it may become strong and firm. First when the woman follows him upon hearing of his fame and cries with assured confidence that he would according to his reputation deal mercifully with her, Christ certainly acts differently, as if to let her faith and good confidence be in vain and turn his good reputation into a lie, so that she could have thought: Is this the gracious, friendly man? or: Are these the good words, that I have heard spoken about him, upon which I have depended? It must not be true; he is my enemy and will not receive me; nevertheless he might speak a word and tell me that he will have nothing to do with me. Now he is as silent as a stone. Behold, this is a very hard rebuff, when God appears so earnest and angry and conceals his grace so high and deep; as those know so well, who feel and experience it in their hearts. Therefore she imagines he will not fulfill what he has spoken, and will let his Word be false; as it happened to the children of Israel at the Red Sea and to many other saints.

So we should not take this lightly and think, Oh, this has a happy ending. Her daughter is healed. When there is no good news, time stands still and the only thing felt is the pain.

The example of Jesus and His saints is clear – God often lets the silence continue for a long time. He lets the rational solutions run out and fail. And then He answers so that no one can say, “I did it on my own.”

Of course many do answer their problems on their own, and the more this happens, the less they rely on God. Suddenly their visions vanish and they are left without the material happiness and also without faith.

One woman had so much confidence in herself that she changed her diet whenever she had a physical problem. That worked every time. My mind ran through a dozen scenarios where food was not going to help her.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  

Jesus did not answer the woman, but answered His disciples. “She does not belong to us. I was not sent for her.” This naturally challenges the depth of her faith in Him. Does she believe Jesus is her Savior too? There were all kinds of people who had some attraction to Him, and they fell away when they heard “hard sayings” and even said so, as John 6 shows. “Many disciples departed” after they said, “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?”

Faith is trust in Him as He is, not as we wish Him to be. So many say, “I prayed and did not get what I wanted, so I stopped believing in Him or God.” And many congregations turn ministers into atheists by their behavior, not only being evil, but gloating in their evil and bragging about it. But that really means God’s judgment has been visited upon them. They have fulfilled Romans 1 (God has turned them over, given up on them) and 2 Thessalonians 2 – so evil that they rejoice in doing wrong.

True Biblical faith involves patient continuance, because whatever is God-pleasing will be persecuted as wrong.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

This woman of faith was undeterred. She bowed down and worshiped Jesus as God, saying Lord, help me.
Even when we know this story well, it seems good at this point for Jesus to give way and answer her prayers. But His answer only re-enforces what came before. Silence was bad enough, but this is direct. Answering her prayer is taking away bread from the Children of Israel and casting it to the dogs – the Gentiles.

This is rhetorical but very harsh anyway. Isn’t this what any rabbi would say? That does not mean it is what Jesus wants to convey. As Luther says, Jesus exercises faith in His followers, to make it stronger. It also makes it manifest to the rest of us, as people confess the depth of their faith.

This is good - and one of the best for emphasizing faith - because it is a thought that runs through anyone's mind when waiting for an answer, when plagued by doubts and fears? Am I worth? Or why am I not worthy? Why are these others blessed and I am not?

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

A good debating tactic is to agree with the objection and turn it around. Here faith is so strong that the answer comes to her at once. She may be a small dog (a different word is used here) but even those puppies eat the crumbs falling from the master’s table.

“Dog” was and is a terrible insult in that culture. But she in humility accepted the term and used it to define her willingness to accept anything that came from the Master’s table. “Thou settest the table before me.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Jesus always commended faith, and condemned unbelief. Those who criticize faith are filled with the thought of their own righteousness, which is why justification by faith sends them into a towering rage.

Once again it needs to be said that Jesus never turned down someone who came to Him in prayer. And He even offered more than what was needed, to prove the faith of the petitioner (I will come to your house).

And yet He delayed His visit to Lazarus, His dear friend. He was willing to be berated by the sister of Lazarus – if you had been there – in order to show the power of the Word and teach – “I AM the Resurrection and the Life. He who comes to Me will never die.”

I noticed Luther’s faith when he wrote about marrying young, noting that if the husband died, he had done a good thing in getting married. When one views the difficulties of life in faith, the bad as seen by the unbelieving world is something good.

And it was so perverted and twisted then, this unbelieving view, that Luther often commented upon it.

So the daughter suffered terribly, and so did her mother, especially during her faithful petitions, but the healing and the confessions of faith proved to be a double blessing worthy of the revealed Word of God. The mother began simply looking for healing and ended being the example of faith.

10. All this, however, is written for our comfort and instruction, that we may know how deeply God conceals his grace before our face, and that we may not estimate him according to our feelings and thinking, but strictly according to his Word. For here you see, though Christ appears to be even hardhearted, yet he gives no final decision by saying “No.” All his answers indeed sound like no, but they are not no, they remain undecided and pending. For he does not say: I will not hear thee; but is silent and passive, and says neither yes nor no. In like manner he does not say she is not of the house of Israel; but he is sent only to the house of Israel; he leaves it undecided and pending between yes and no. So he does not say, Thou art a dog, one should not give thee of the children’s bread; but it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs; leaving it undecided whether she is a dog or not. Yet all those trials of her faith sounded more like no than yes; but there was more yea in them than nay; ay, there is only yes in them, but it is very deep and very concealed, while there appears to be nothing but no.

11. By this is set forth the condition of our heart in times of temptation; Christ here represents how it feels. It thinks there is nothing but no and yet that is not true. Therefore it must turn from this feeling and lay hold of and retain the deep spiritual yes under and above the no with a firm faith in God’s Word, as this poor woman does, and say God is right in his judgment which he visits upon us; then we have triumphed and caught Christ in his own words. As for example when we feel in our conscience that God rebukes us as sinners and judges us unworthy of the kingdom of heaven, then we experience hell, and we think we are lost forever. Now whoever understands here the actions of this poor woman and catches God in his own judgment, and says: Lord, it is true, I am a sinner and not worthy of thy grace; but still thou hast promised sinners forgiveness, and thou art come not to call the righteous, but, as St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15, “to save sinners.” Behold, then must God according to his own judgment have mercy upon us.