Outside Looking In

Advent 2017

December 19

Mark 7:24 – 8:10

“’Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the little dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’” Mark 7:28

Have you ever been “on the outside looking in”? A full witness to all that is taking place but not invited to participate, not invited to share in the festivities, the joy, the ‘blessings’? “Outside looking in” can be a very lonely place, a place occupied by the “unwanted”, the “unloved”, the “invisible”. It truly is a terrible place to be isn’t it?

At the Advent, the coming of the Lord Jesus, God incarnate, the invitation to “come and see” was given to those “on the outside looking in”. St. Luke recounts how an “an angel of the Lord” had brought to them “good news of great joy”. These shepherds, often the “lowest of the low” in Israelite society were “invited” to come to the Manger and see their “new born king”. And gentile foreigners, the Magi, were also invited to come and meet “he who is born King of the Jews.” What a marvelous mystery! Those who should have been present, had a “front row seat” to the greatest event in recorded history, yet were conspicuously absent while the outcasts and the foreigners were given a place of honor to witness such a wondrous event.

The Syrophoenician woman, an “outsider”, came ever so boldly to the “font of all mercy” and begged for deliverance for her young daughter. She asked but for the very crumbs that fall from the children’s table. She was willing and unashamed to complete with the household pets for them for those “crumbs” would have been a veritable “feast” for her. The ever-compassionate Lord instead bestowed upon her a “seat at the table” along with the “People of the Promise.”

We also read in the Gospel of Matthew, that when those who were invited to attend the joyous wedding feast of the King’s son refused to attend, the call went out far and wide to stranger and foreigner alike to be a guest at the wedding feast. Those who had been invited and deemed worthy to attend proved to be unworthy of the great honor and those previously deemed unworthy were now made worthy by the sovereign will of the King. (Re: Matt. 22:1-14)

Again, we read in the Gospel of Matthew of the Roman Centurion that is commended for his great faith, a faith that had never before been witnessed in all Israel. And it is those of such faith, those outside of the ancient Covenant, that the Lord now addresses saying, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 8:11-12)

We are reminded throughout the Gospel accounts and Revelation concerning the great “marriage supper of the Lamb”. Your place has been prepared but will you be there? For as Scripture says, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14)

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