Wait, Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fish more than once? Yes, according to Matthew. He has the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000. We will see that Mark has the same scenario, so why not? It is interesting to hear some of the commentators on this Scripture trying to explain it away either as a mistake or as something that Jesus did not, interpret as could not, do. I have no issues with Jesus performing the same miracle twice. After all, look at how many people he heals, including the multitudes in this chapter who come to see him. We find that healing scene repeated often.
The scene of the showdown between Jesus and the Canaanite woman is one that I treasure. You will find it depicted in vs. 21-28. At first reading it seems like Jesus is quite the opposite from compassionate, which we raised as one of his lasting legacies last chapter. Okay, let’s be honest, even after the second reading it seems like he isn’t very nice to this woman as she begs for mercy.
“Jesus, help me.” “Sorry, I just came for the people of Israel, and it is not right to give to the dogs what is reserved for the children of God.” Do you hear the implications in Jesus’ statement? He is basically calling this woman and her people dogs. What is Jesus trying to do? Her response gives us a clue to what his final intentions were, and what ends up happening with the Gospel message in the long run. She answers brilliantly by classifying herself and her people as dogs, but stating that even dogs deserve the presence of the Lord and His miraculous touch. By turning the argument back to Jesus she allows all around to see that she had the same value as anyone else.
This is not a statement on whether all dogs go to heaven or not, but rather a statement that all people do indeed fall under the watchful gaze and protective hand of our Father. On this MLK Jr. Day it is one of the most appropriate Scriptures that I can put before you. There are those in history who have been treated like dogs by people in power for generations. It is no wonder that African Americans have always had an affinity for the stories of Moses as he led them out of Egypt and into the promised land. That has been their history in this country. The promised land is still on the horizon, but we are getting closer.
This day has always been one that has had special significance for me for years. My father was very involved in the civil rights movement, he even marched on Selma without the approval of his session. It is a legendary story in our family. I had a chance to meet Coretta Scott King as a child when my father introduced me to her. What we can take away from this Scripture is that if all of us were made from the same mud at creation, and if Jesus loves all of us equally and has a place in heaven for all of us who receive him, then why on earth do we treat each other differently and think that some are of less value than others.
I think it is a question that will remain for the ages as long as there are certain people in power and others who are out of power. Jesus would agree completely with the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:28. Look it up, it will do you good.