St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Sermon for August 17th, 2008

Sermon for August 17, 2008
St. James’ Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley

This year we are hearing the Gospel according to Matthew, the most Jewish of the four Gospels Mark was the first of the Gospels written probably after the execution of both Peter and Paul in Rome. Some scholars think that Mark was on a boat traveling from Italy to Israel writing in hast knowing that the original Apostles were passing away. He was in a hurry. He wanted to get the fact down; there is no birth nor ascension narratives. The Gospel according to Luke was written for the Gentiles, non Jewish, audience; Luke explains Jewish traditions and Hebrew words. Matthew’s Gospel was written for the Jewish population carefully explaining how the life of Jesus answered all of the possible predictions of the Messiah and repeats each of the actions of the Old Testament prophets.

For the past few weeks we have heard Jesus repeating actions of the great leaders of the Old Testament. In the story of the feeding of the five thousand men, plus women and children, Jesus was leading and teaching people in the wilderness, just like Moses in the wilderness following fleeing Egypt. Moses fed the people with manna from heaven and flocks of quail from the sea; Jesus fed the people with five loaves and two small fish.

Last week we hear about the apostle in a little boat on the stormy waters of Sea of Galilee Jesus comes to them in their time of terror saying, "be not afraid I am with you." In the Old Testament, Jonah was being sent by God to the town of Nineveh in what is now Syria; God wanted Jonah to tell Nineveh to repent or be destroyed. Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed; so instead of going north to Nineveh, Jonah caught the first boat south to Egypt. A great storm blew up, and the people on the boat asked who is the unrighteous person on the boat; Jonah was thrown over board and the seas calm. And you know the rest of the story; a great whale swallowed Jonah and cast him up on the out skirts of Nineveh some 90 miles inland from the sea. In the Old Testament an Unrighteous Man was throne over board to calm the sea. In the Gospel The Righteous Man comes to the sinking boat and calms the sea. The Old Testament story retold with a twist.

Now today Jesus and the Apostles have moved away from Galilee over to the Mediterranean coast north of Israel in the land of the Canaanites. A Canaanite women comes to Jesus and begs him the cure her daughter who is possessed by a demon…very sick Jesus tells her that he is sent to the children of Israel, the Lost Sheep…. In the Old Testament Elijah the first of the great prophets is in exiled out of Israel, and goes to the home of a widow who was starving to death in a great long famine. She had only a little meal and oil and than they would have nothing to eat and would die. Elijah told the widow to not be afraid the meal and oil would not run out. Later the widow’s son fell ill and died, and Elijah raised the son to life.
Jesus cured the Canaanite woman’s daughter, retelling the story of Elijah with a daughter rather than a son. But there is the joke in the story. Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, "It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." And she replied, "Yes, Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table."
The Canaanite woman was willing to eat like the master’s canines, dogs. This is a true Jewish joke on the Canaanites.

Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament predictions of a prophet, and Messiah.

Thanks be to God.

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