In Isaiah 56, the prophet relates God's word to him, beginning with some pretty standard statements. Then the whole thing goes off the rails - I mean God goes off the rails!
God starts talking about eunuchs, stating that they will have a reward greater than sons or daughters in the house of God! Then God insists on the acceptability of faithful foreigners! Blessings for foreigners!
These two groups are definitely not okay in the Judaism of Isaiah's time. They were ritually unclean and had no share in the covenant with God's people. Yet God blows such exclusivism out of the water. And then God announces that God isn't done yet - I will gather still others. To the Judaism of that day, God says, "Yes, even them!"
In Matthew 15, Jesus has ventured north into non-Jewish territory into Tyre and Sidon - modern day Lebanon. He meets a Canaanite woman there who seeks Jesus' help with her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus rudely ignores her. Nice going, Jesus.
When she persists, Jesus tries brushing her off, sharply declaring that he is sent only to "the lost sheep of Israel."
Undeterred, she falls to her knees, probably blocking him, and continues to plead. Then Jesus gets really ugly with the stubborn Canaanite woman. But she actually ends up teaching Jesus something, and Jesus's mission is transformed.
Find out how this works as Jesus experiences the power of God's radical inclusiveness through this foreigner-woman. He finds himself saying, "Yes, even them." Check out the sermon video below, and find links referred to within the sermon in the downloadable sermon text below the video panel.
(I'm either practicing my touchdown call in anticipation of football season, or for my next job of guiding taxiing aircraft.)