In the Book of Genesis, God made a faithful promise to Abraham; namely, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. When the people of Israel settled in the land of Egypt, it seemed like God's promise to Abraham was being fulfilled. "The Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them" (Exodus 1:7).
Pharaoh, however, is not pleased with this growing population of foreigners living in his midst. In an attempt to curb the growth and spread of the Hebrew people, he not only enslaves them but orders all the baby boys to be killed.
God's promise to Abraham is now in danger. Fortunately, the God of the Jewish people is a God who remains faithful to his promise - even when that promise is threatened by the plots and schemes of wicked people.
Reading the four Gospels, we get the impression that Jesus is a difficult man to impress. However, in today’s story from the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 15:21-28) we see that Jesus is deeply impressed— impressed by the faith of a desperate gentile woman whose daughter is in need of healing.
In today’s sermon, Coralie will take a deeper look at this story. What, specifically, is so impressive about this woman’s faith? How exactly is this woman a model for those who wish to have the gift of faith in their lives? What does Jesus do in response to such faith? These are some of the questions that Coralie will be touching upon in her sermon.
After finding out about the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus goes to a secluded place to be alone. However, even Jesus' plans can go awry for, upon his arrival, he and his disciples find that this supposed "secluded place" is teaming with people, all eager to see him. However, instead of growing frustrated, Jesus has compassion on the crowd and spends the day ministering to them. Meanwhile, his disciples identify a major problem: the crowds don't have enough to eat and run the risk of fainting on their way to the nearest village. Their solution is to send them on their way before they grow too hungry. Jesus, however, has other plans in mind. "You give them something to eat," he tells his disciples. What does the famous story of the loaves and fishes have to teach us about the mission of Jesus' disciples – not only the disciples from the first century but also the ones from the TWENTY-FIRST century?