16th August 2020 – Trouble in Tyre… Matthew 15:21-28.

August 14, 2020 Pastor Matt Bishop

It seems there was quite a scene that day when Jesus withdrew out of Galilee into the northern non-Jewish (gentile) realm of Tyre and Sidon. Confronted by a desperate mum seeking her child’s deliverance from a demon there is plenty of awkward to and fro. Pretty much everyone these days rightly feels uncomfortable about the apparent harshness of Jesus (notwithstanding that comes from what I suspect is a cursory rather than a close reading of the text). All of us feel for the Canaanite woman begging on her knees. May the Spirit keep growing faith in us as she had, and may we be encouraged by our assured place at God’s table. May we also be led by the Spirit to confidently ask and serve out of that faith.

The earlier troubles of Tyre… As part of preparing the sermon this week I got distracted (nothing unusual there!) by the history of Tyre. What a story! It was a key centre in the pagan worship of the Baals which meant it was always problematic for Israel and Judah as they oscillated in their faithfulness to the one true God. But beyond Tyre’s southern neighbours, well before the time of Christ, the presence of a key temple on island of Tyre indirectly started the conflict with Alexander ‘the Great’. This conflict led to Alexander’s impressive engineering to build a causeway out to the fortified island, and his subsequent total conquest. It’s in the region of the flattened remains of this area that today’s account of Jesus and the Canaanite woman took place. If you are inclined, I found this to be a well paced and entertaining read of Tyre’s history: https://biblereadingarcheology.com/2017/09/13/what-happened-to-tyre/