Conduct and the Other

Sermon Notes - August 20

Introduction: Just before this gospel Jesus tells the Pharisees that it is not so important to wash one’s hands before you eat. The Pharisees were scrupulous in their keeping of the law and this teacher seems to them to have a disregard of what they hold to be important. How can he be from God if he fails to hold fast to the commands they have received from God and have worked to obey over hundreds of years.

I). Jesus’ disciples are concerned that he has angered important people and may not be aware of what he has done. He tells them they are blind guides leading blind disciples, or in other words they do not really understand what they are doing and those that follow them fail to question what they are being taught.

II). Peter seeks intelligibility in what Jesus is telling his disciples to do. Jesus tells them that it is not that goes into someone that defiles them, but what comes out of their mouth. I believe our challenge as Christians is to treat everyone we meet with dignity and respect. Then we have Jesus first ignoring a woman who happens to be a foreigner and then comparing her to a dog.

III). What is remarkable about this last portion of the Gospel is not only the faith of this woman and her determination to help her daughter, but her quick wit. Just as one might expect her to go away dispirited as Jesus rebukes her request by stating that it is not right to give a dog the children’s food, she immediately replies to Jesus’ insult that even the dogs eat the food that falls from the master’s table. Here indeed is a brilliant reply. She sees in Jesus more than a mere teacher since he can cure her daughter. So she points out that this is no ordinary table, but the table of her master. Now Jesus responds by immediately granting her request and her daughter is made well without Jesus having to go and heal her.