Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Fourth Sunday in Great Lent (Knanaitho / Canaanite Woman)

Sermon / Homily on Matthew 15: 21-28

Lord's Incarnation - In Search of The Lost Sheep of Israel

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel: St. Matthew 15: 21-28

In the Gospel reading of this Sunday, our Lord and Savior is saying: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15: 24) What does it mean? Does it mean that He has come to save only the members of the Jewish community? It is not true to think so.

To our Lord, the term Israel or the house of Israel had/has a very wider meaning and idea. Jesus Christ, Son of God, incarnated at the fullness of time to save Adam and his children. Lord wanted to re-instate Adam and his followers in the place which they had lost by the commitment of sins.

Adam's first and only sin was disobedience. Adam lost his love, or we could say that he forgot his love to God, for a while and it forced him and his wife Eve to leave the Garden of Eden, which is to be realized as the boundary of the dwelling of God's love.

According to the Holy Bible, all the generations of mankind are the descendants of Adam. In that sense and understanding, the incarnation is meant for the entire mankind irrespective of faith, color, creed or nationality. We often try to see Lord Jesus within the four walls of our Church and, in fact, we often try to get into the Church and leave Christ outside. We often do not try to realize that we are with God and in God. Lord Jesus enabled us to inherit the great blessing of living in God and with God through His sacrifice on the cross. And it is the free gift of each and every one of all generations to inherit heaven or the so called salvation by the acceptance of the divine flesh and blood of our Savior with real repentance. Lord Jesus gained his motive and aim by the establishment of the Holy Church, which is authorized to administer the Holy mysteries as well as all sacraments, until His blessed second coming.

Let us go back to the term Israel. Israel is the name given by God in honor of Jacob, the Old Testament Patriarch, son of Isaac. (Genesis 32: 29, 35: 10, Hosea 12:3) In the Old Testament, Israel tribe is mentioned differently from others and the Israelites are often considered as the "own tribe of God." Though the term Israel is used throughout the Old Testament for the followers of Jacob, they upheld the novel idea of the expectation for the Savior to come and redeem the entire mankind. Hence we could realize the Old Testament as a history of the great expectation of the redeemer/Savior.

For our Lord Jesus, Israel was a term for the mankind without any iniquities. Let us see our Lord's comment when He saw Nathaniel coming to meet Him: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." ( St. John 1:47) This reveals the truth that Lord Jesus was incarnated in search of all who have fallen and were having guile or iniquities. He wanted to liberate the entire mankind from the sin and death and He got victory as and when He saved the mankind by giving His blood as ransom for the sins and iniquities of mankind. Let us all accept Him in us as our Lord, Savior and God. Let us try to be honest and sincere to Him in the rest of our lives. Let us confess every day and every moment: 'Lord Jesus, you are my Savior and Redeemer, you are my Lord and God.'

Many of the modern speakers try to sympathize with the Canaanite lady and all such people highlight the patience and humbleness. They are of the opinion that our Lord addressed and abused her as dog. It is a great unfortunate misunderstanding and wrong interpretation. Our Lord said "It is not right to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs." First of all, we must understand that Lord Jesus did not address her as dog. Second thing is that our Lord foreknew her well. He was so sure that she was willing to identify herself to a dog if required. Her faith was so great as appreciated by our Lord. Let us try to uphold her faith and appreciate her sound and solid faith.

May God bless us all.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 4th Sunday in Great Lent (Canaanite Woman)

Sermons Home | General Sermons and Essays | Articles | eBooks | Our Faith | Prayers | Library - Home | Baselios Church Home

Malankara World
A service of St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio
Copyright © 2009-2020 - ICBS Group. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer
Website designed, built, and hosted by International Cyber Business Services, Inc., Hudson, Ohio