There are obviously the healing themselves and this Gospel might lead to a sermon about healing, and yet what could one say? Jesus is sought by this non-jewish woman thinking she has found the local healer, hence Jesus' exchange with her. He was probing to see if there was any substance to her question. In other words did she just have selfish motives or did she understand that Jesus' ministry was far more that that of a healer.
Then there is the healing of the deaf man. Jesus seems to act strangely too. Jesus is begged to heal this man. The people with him, maybe him too, again clearly see him only as a healer. Perhaps that's why Jesus takes the man away to a private place to heal him. Is it a PR exercise?
Jesus orders the man to tell no-one bout the healing. Putting the healing into that context, it becomes clear that Jesus is concerned about who people perceive him to be? A healer only or the Messiah, the Son of God? Here as elsewhere, the healing miracles performed by Jesus point not at him, but beyong him to God and his coming Kingdom.
As I prepare I am left with some questions:
- Other sermon threads to follow would be racism (reference to 'the dogs'), transformation (who was changed - the woman's daughter? The deaf man? Jesus himself as he is challenged by a Gentile.)
- Who did people in Jesus day really think he was - see Simon Peter's confession in Matthew 16:16
- Who do people today think Jesus was? A historical figure? A story like the Tooth Fairy?
- Who do I say he is? How would I explain what I believe?
- What difference does it make for Jesus to be so much more than a healer?
- What's Jesus actually offering?