Can Jesus learn?

Here’s a second cup that’s far from being easy to swallow if you believe human perfection is a requirement for the One who saves.

A lot of folks get anxious about this story because at the very lest, Jesus looks like at he’s “caught with his compassion down” and at worst, he’s a hypocrite.

Sure, there’s food enough to feed thousands and thousands a few verses ago, but not when it comes to one of them.  A Canaanite.  An idolatrous unclean woman who doesn’t share religion, politics, heritage, race or gender with Jesus. 

Sure, sure – it’s what’s in your heart that matters. Of course you can’t just blindly adhere to “doing what we’ve always done because we’ve always done it” as your moral maxim.  That doesn’t even require a mustard seed’s worth of faith!

But all that goes in the sewer when Jesus is asked to have mercy on one of them.

At first glance, when the mercy of this Kingdom of God gets put the test, it looks like Jesus comes up short. 

The theological police get indigestion here too.  Traditionally, Christianity has believed Jesus is the perfect, spotless, sinless lamb who must be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the world.

My thoughts on the theological rabbit hole of dedicating one’s faith to this narrative of perfection are elsewhere.

I just can’t swallow it.

As I mentioned in the sermon, Jesus makes clear again and again and again in Matthew’s Gospel, that God’s desire is mercy not sacrifice.

We choke on that a lot in this world. We’d much rather look for someone to blame, someone to vilify, someone to crucify. 

After Jesus’ crucifixion, God doesn’t send the flood out of anger.  There’s no plagues.  The four horsemen don’t come racing onto the scene.  God doesn’t send us all to court to be condemned to hell for crucifying Jesus! 

It’s not about perfection or sacrifice.  As the man asked again and again folks: Do you not yet understand?

“Father, forgive them.  They know not what they do.”

There is only Grace.  There is only Mercy.  Both of which are divine, because they transcend the limits of what ought to be possible. God is the impossible! Without God – nothing is possible.  With God all things are possible!

Just look at what’s happening in Virginia or in North Korea – humanity has a tendency to favour escalation, retaliation, violence and death.