LIVING WATERS LUTHERAN CHURCH - INTERACTIVE BIBLE STUDY
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In Isaiah we hear that God’s house shall be a house of prayer for all people and that God will gather the outcasts of Israel. The Canaanite woman in today’s gospel is a Gentile, an outsider, who is unflinching in her request that Jesus heal her daughter. As Jesus commends her bold faith, how might our church extend its mission to those on the margins of society? In our gathering around word and meal we receive strength to be signs of comfort, healing, and justice for those in need.
Prayer of the Day
God of all peoples, your arms reach out to embrace all those who call upon you. Teach us as disciples of your Son to love the world with compassion and constancy, that your name may be known throughout the earth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Gospel: Matthew 15: [10-20] 21-28
Jesus teaches his disciples that true purity is a matter of the heart rather than outward religious observances. Almost immediately, this teaching is tested when a woman considered to be a religious outsider approaches him for help.
[10[Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”]
21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
- What do you do when God’s will does not correspond to what you thought it was?
- How did the Canaanite woman know about Jesus’ ability to save? How does a faith discovery happen to you?
- In what says do those outside the church still call on Jesus to save them?
First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
The prophet calls upon Israel to do justice in view of God’s imminent intervention to save. Righteousness and obedience define who belongs to the Israelite community—not race, nationality, or any other category.
1Thus says the Lord:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.
6And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
and hold fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.
8Thus says the Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
besides those already gathered.
- As they await God’s salvation, what were the exiles to do? Why should they behave in this way?
- What was God’s goal in restoring Jerusalem after the exile? What does this say about God’s grace?
- Why is God’s covenant so good that the “foreigners” and “outcasts of Israel” seek it?
SING: ELW 650
In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north,
But one community of love throughout the whole wide earth.
Join hands, disciples of the faith, what e’er your race may be,
All Children of the living God are surely kin to me.