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Notes for Lent 2 – Matthew 15:21-28

by pastorjuhl ~ February 22nd, 2010

The Post-Tridentine Roman Lectionary has the Transfiguration account on the Second Sunday in Lent.

Fred Lindemann, “The Sermon and the Propers”

The determined effort of the evil spirit to possess and to defeat the struggle of faith is here visualized. But we see also a faith that will not take “No” or rebuff a delay. It confesses and perseveres and grows into that mighty power that conquers Christ’s seeming reluctance to help.

Blessed Johann Gerhard

1. Amidst tribulations we come to know our most extreme poverty, our need and unworthiness. This results in our turning to the perfect, over flowing Fountain of every blessing, and there we see help for our utter poverty, need, and unworthiness.

2. If the offering of our lips is to please God (cf. Hebrews 13:15), there is to be a burning, heartfelt trust in our heart. Where there is no trust, there is doubt; but where there is also doubt, there one cannot obtain anything through prayer…. If a prayer does not emanate from a true, steadfast trusting heart, then it is merely a plain mockery, and not a prayer which is pleasing to God…. Our prayer must be solidly grounded upon both of these two parts: God’s omnipotence and His gracious promise.

3. Prayer must not ground itself upon one’s own worthiness, but instead simply upon God’s mercy.

We should not regard God’s silence and withdrawal of help as a total refusal, but rather as an exercise of faith. If the longing for God’s help and blessing is genuine, then it will not be stifled by such trial. Instead, it will be increased.

Even though I may be a poor puppy, I still desire only the bread crumbs of Your grace. Even though I am a sinner, You still have promised to receive each individual, poor sinner who wends his way to You through true repentance. Even though I am not worthy of Your help, yet Your faithful promise is so precious that I believe it.

Blessed Martin Luther’s House Postil

From this Gospel we are to learn that nothing, not even the throes of death, must deter us from calling upon God in prayer – even though He has already said “No.”

The woman blinds her eyes and shuts her mind to the fact that she is a heathen, a Gentile, and He a Jew. Her heart is so full of trust in Christ that she is convinced, He will not turn me away. By such faith she has wiped away the thought that she is a Gentile and He a Jew.

This incident was recorded for our sakes to keep us from stumbling when the evil foe confronts us with the charge: You are no Christian; your prayers won’t accomplish a thing…. The more sinful and wicked I perceive myself to be, the more passionately and earnestly will I call upon Him and let nothing deter me.

The Canaanite woman was a Gentile and not among the chosen people and yet she prayed and let nothing keep her from praying, nor will I, for I desperately require help from my various needs. Where else can I look for help, but with God in heaven, for the sake of His dear Son and my Redeemer, Christ Jesus? That’s the kind of heroic, soldier-like faith the woman had, truly remarkable!

Christ is pleased at heart when we persist in prayer and do not give up.

Faith takes Christ captive in His Word, when He’s angriest, and makes out of His cruel Words a comforting inversion, as we see here. You say, the woman responds, that I am a dog. Let it be, I will gladly be a dog; now give me the consideration that you give a dog. Thus she catches Christ with His own Words, and He is  happy to be caught.

We see here why the Lord presented Himself so unyielding and refused to hear her, not because He wanted to present an unfriendly image as not wanting to help her, but rather that her faith might be so evident, that the Jews who were the children and heirs of the kingdom might learn from the Gentile, who was not among the children and  had no inheritance, how they were to believe in Christ and place all confidence in Him.

1 Response to Notes for Lent 2 – Matthew 15:21-28

  1. Bryan Wolfmueller

    Luther's Church Postil Audio: http://www.hope-aurora.org/audio/LutherSermons/Le

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