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July 21, 2011

The Nature of Jesus

By Tony V. Hammack

These notes are best when used in conjunction with the audio or video. To listen to the audio (podcast), click here.

Understanding Jesus – Understanding the Father

John 14:9b-10
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?

Jesus Christ is the fundamental doctrine of true theology ~Dr. S.M. Lockridge

To understand the personality of Jesus is to understand the personality of God.

Everything Jesus does is Christ like and he perfectly represents the personality of God the Father.
However sometimes our opinions of him may not be accurate and they may be based on popular ideas or sources other than the Word of God.

Times When Jesus Behaves in an “Un-Christ Like Manner”


Matthew 15:21-28
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”  23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Introduction
A casual reading of this passage could cause the reader to feel like Jesus is brushing this woman off and even being rude. Let’s take a deeper look at the dynamics of Christ as he responds to this Canaanite woman.
  1. There is a need v. 22
  2. The woman knows something about Jesus v. 22
  3. Jesus doesn’t initially respond to the need v. 23
  4. Jesus responds with the word of the Lord v. 24
  5. The woman pleads for her daughter v. 25
  6. Jesus repeats the word of the Lord in a way that could be construed as offensive to the woman. v. 26
  7. The woman’s response to Jesus v. 27
  8. Jesus performs a miracle as a result of the woman’s faith v. 28
I.  There are needs
     A.  Mark 14:7  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
     B. Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Needs for salvation
  • Needs for healing
  • Needs for deliverance
  • Needs for emotional healing
  • Financial needs
Is Jesus initially moved by the need in this situation?

Mark 6:47-50
47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

It's clear from the passage above that Jesus does not respond to needs.  However he does respond to the faith of the disciples as they cry out to him.


II. The woman knows something about Jesus v. 22
She addresses Jesus as “Lord, Son of David”

Son of David is a popular Jewish title for the coming Messiah and is used several times in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:5-16)

III. Jesus doesn’t initially respond to the need v. 23
Not only does Jesus not respond to the need but he ignores her.
He could’ve said a lot of things other than just ignoring her.
What are some possible responses you would want to hear if you were this woman?
Is this a deliberate strategy of Jesus to offend this woman causing her to either walk away or press in for her miracle?
Does God offend the mind to reveal the heart?
How easily offended are we? Are our loved ones easily offended? How do we respond when we don’t see the manifestation we’re believing for?

Jesus closest followers have a problem with the woman “she keeps crying out after us.” v. 23

This is another great opportunity for the woman to become offended and give up petitioning Jesus for her daughter.

In New Testament times there was no country known as Canaan. Some think this was the Semitic manner of referring to the people of Phonecia at this time. Mark says the woman was “a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia”.  In Mark 7:26 Mark possibly used the term to distinguish this woman from the Libyan Phoenicians of North Africa.

What are some possible reasons why she’s so persistent in her pleading?

Do we have the same character qualities that the woman has?

IV. Jesus responds with the word of the Lord v. 24
As we’ve already discussed Jesus is not moved by the woman’s need he’s moved by God’s word. The word is. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel
Matthew 10:5-8
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Jesus’ point was that the gospel was to be given first to Jews.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

V.  The woman pleads for her daughter v. 25
The woman is not pushed away by the word’s she’s heard. She continues to plead for her daughter’s life, kneeling before Jesus saying, “Lord, help me!”

VI.  Jesus repeats the word of the Lord in a way that could be construed as offensive to the woman. v. 26
The children are the jews and the dogs are the gentiles.
In some senses of the word Jesus calls the woman a dog.

VII.  The woman’s response to Jesus v. 27
How would you respond to a minister in a prayer line who didn’t pray for you and then said, “I’m not going to pray for you, you dog”?

The woman’s reply revealed not only her wit but also her faith and humility.

v. 26 And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. v. 27 She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table.

VIII. Jesus performs a miracle as a result of the woman’s faith v. 28
Jesus moves outside of the mandate of God’s plan for his life as a result of the faith of the woman. The woman’s faith makes her daughter’s healing the will of God for this “dog” gentile woman.

Conclusion:
The Great Faith Club – Two gentile members
Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion – Revelation of Authority
Matthew 15:21-28 The Canaanite Woman – Persistence in the face of adversity

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