My early teaching of the gospels was: Matthew for the Jews, Mark for the Roman-gentiles, Luke for the Greek-gentiles, and John for everyone.
And then we get a verse or two to “study” each day and that context is forgotten. Now it is what is He giving me – what “word” do I hear? Hearing Him is the thing (or else it is not a Living Bible).
But I did English Lit at school and was taught that a book only comes alive in the imagination of the reader. That great books transport the reader to another place and time. And I think all of that applies to reading the bible as well.
But I was never taught that about the bible.
The bible is the Word of God and we cannot make God ordinary. He must be greater than me. Holier than me. Sin free to my sin full. One I can ever understand. One I will never understand. And with that is the debt. And the hierarchy. And the distance.
And THAT is the teaching I reject.
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 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.” 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.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.” Matthew 15:21-28
So we are Jews for these verses. And pre-“leaving that place”… ?
John the Baptist Beheaded … Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand … Jesus Walks on the Water … That Which Defiles … and finally … The Faith of a Canaanite Woman. And post-the “Canaanite Woman” … ? The Demand for a Sign … The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees … Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah … Jesus Predicts His Death … The Transfiguration …
And my “word of God” in all this … ? ”I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
So as a Jew I am hearing sign and prophecy fulfilled, sign and prophecy fulfilled, sign and prophecy fulfilled.
But I am not a Jew. I am not a dusty peep. And I am not of that time and place. I am. That’s all. I am just me.
I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.
I am not of Israel and have no desire to go and be a believing package-tourist. I can get my “wows” (and do!) sitting right here. Because I was lost.
We are all lost at some point in our lives. Sometimes lost many times and for many years – sometimes for ever. I called it a mid-life crisis. I called it looking for something more. And some find the answer in work, in drugs, in hedonism, in any and many “destination venues”. Except they never are.
Always it comes back to “being known and being loved”. Being known and loved for who I am without pretence and masks.
I call that balance. My wife calls it “you being you again”. And I have gone beyond needing the bible to be true, needing the biblical God to be true as taught. I have gone beyond needing to be right. I have found a place of peace that I can carry with me always.
I was sent only to the lost sheep.
If “God and religion and the bible” don’t work for you – it’s not my “job” or “calling” to convince you. If you find your own place of peace – your own “balance” – your own “you being you” … then that is the same place I have found.
So why would I want you to rearrange that for my version of my place of peace?
But please don’t ask me to rearrange my place of peace because your biblical God teaching pissed you off and still does. It pissed me off – and I have found within the same bible a place of peace not “teaching”.
I was sent only to the lost sheep.
And I am no longer lost.