There are many areas of my life that I wish I was perfect. Sadly, like many people around the world, there are many areas of our lives we will be far less than perfect. But what about Jesus? What does he have to teach us about perfection?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible involves a pagan (non-Jew) woman who comes to Jesus and asks for his healing power. Jesus proceeds to decline her request, stating that he came for the Jews and that “You do not take the children’s bread from the table and throw it to the dogs”.
Let’s just talk about that for a moment. This isn’t a Jesus we are used to. This is a Jesus who seems to be not so full of compassion, a Jesus unwilling to give help. A very human Jesus.
We often forget that Jesus was in fact human. A man born and raised by the people of his time, a people who held prejudices and at times were not very kind. So how can we call this imperfect man our saviour?
It is in the response we see that Jesus is indeed perfect, not perfect in the sense that he no longer had anything to learn and therefore was capable of mistakes but perfect in the sense he was able to have an open mind, despite being raised by an imperfect community to learn from his situation.
After Jesus said “You do not take the children’s bread from the table and throw it to the dogs”, the woman replies by saying “But even the dogs get the scraps from the table” which Jesus is stunned by. Jesus responds with “Your faith is great! Let it be done as you desire” and Jesus heals the woman’s daughter.
How many of us change our mind when we are proven wrong? Jesus, in a position of privilege and power listened to a woman (not the done thing in the times) and quickly corrected his mistake.
There is a lot to learn from the perfect human Jesus because it is through our mistakes we grow and become better on the path to perfection, we just have to remain open to that experience as Jesus did.