Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Humiliation and Faith

This past Lord’s Day, my pastor (Mitch Chase) celebrated his birthday with a full day of preaching and teaching. In the morning service, Mitch preached from Matthew 15:21-28. In his sermon, he helpfully and rightly pointed out that Jesus’ seemingly harsh and even racist words—in calling the Canaanite woman and her daughter “dogs”—were adapted to the expectations of His hearers. These words would have provided a background, so that His subsequent commendation of this Gentile woman's faith would have been an even more stark challenge to His hearers.

Reflecting more on this passage, I’m also struck by the humility of the Canaanite woman. When Jesus answered her plea by basically calling her a dog and directly implying that she was unworthy of His help, she did not react as we might imagine she would. She might have responded, “You can’t talk to me that way!” She might have said, “Who are you calling ‘dog’ you wandering Jew?” She might have stormed off in a huff, feeling offended.

Instead, she did not argue. If the Lord decided to call her a “dog” on this occasion—for whatever reason—she was ready to accept it. She simply renews her request for her daughter. If the Lord declares her unworthy for “bread,” she is willing to accept “crumbs.”

The Lord answered her request and commended her faith. This passage—along with others, such as the parable of the Pharisee and the publican—present a crucial truth concerning faith. It is faith alone that justifies. But the faith that justifies is more than mere mental assent to a set of propositions. Faith is rather a casting of oneself wholly upon the Lord, despairing of one’s own attempts at righteousness. True faith exalts Christ above all. True faith comes only through humiliation. The Canaanite woman began her address to Jesus with a plea for mercy. “Mercy” implies that she already considered herself guilty, under just judgment. Her interaction with Christ showed that she was not giving lip-service to humility, but that she was truly humiliated before Him.

Please ask yourself, dear reader, if you have ever come to the place of the Canaanite woman. Have you ever seen yourself as guilty and in need of mercy? Have you ever cried out to Christ for salvation? If not, I pray that today would be the day that you truly place your faith in Him.

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