21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
- The woman of Canaan was a gentile (not Jewish), but came seeking what was promised for 'the lost sheep of Israel'. (Although Jesus was sent to save the world, there were prophecies of the 'coming Messiah' that had to be fulfilled - such as coming for the lost sheep of Isreal, as recorded in the OT.) And she recognised Jesus for who He was. Lord. Son of David. Healer. Merciful... No wonder she had Jesus's attention. We "non-Jews" are gentiles. I'm a gentile. We can approach Him. Which we do when we recognise Him to be who He is.
- But He did not answer her. Why...? If I were Him, being rejected and not known by 'His own', I'd be fascinated by what this woman knew of me. He's obviously watching her and her responses... He knows He's here to save all of us. So why that response...? Knowing Him as I do now, I feel as though Jesus is remaining silent not because He's testing her, not because He doesn't want to help her, but to draw out her faith; to get her to voice what she knows and believes, even. He's growing her faith. She is approaching Him in faith. She's a mum, pleading from a broken heart no doubt - as a mum would. She's desperate. She's aching. She knows who He is and what He's capable of, and she needs Him. "Have mercy on me, O Lord..." She knows He is compassionate. "Have mercy on me..." And He's drawing her closer. Surely, she never forgot that moment, and it would've given her confidence in approaching Him in the future. Is this symbolic of how it works with us?
- Hmmm...Jesus's disciples want to send her away. Charming! Signs of believers who are yet to be filled with the Holy Spirit...? Or of those who only think God's cares about those in their faith? I wonder if they said that because they didn't see Jesus respond to her, or if it was because they were yet to be filled with the Spirit and, upon doing so, come to know the true heart of God, or what...? I must admit, I love that Jesus didn't respond to His disciples then, but kept His focus on the one who came to Him in faith.
- Then... 'she came and worshiped Him...' She was a woman without pride now. She knew who Jesus was, what He was capable of, and I'm pretty sure she knew His merciful heart more than His disciples did at that stage. How could Jesus not be moved by that - for He is merciful, and, like His Father, faith 'speaks' to Him.
- Yet...He still doesn't give her what she wants. Did the Jews consider gentiles dogs...? I don't know. But I do know the heart of Jesus and that makes me wonder why He would say that? I can only conclude that He is continuing to bring forth the woman's faith and her heart. I mean, she could've - and many would have - taken offense at that. But she didn't. She remained humbled. Desperate, broken and humbled. She was willing to lay down her pride and open herself up for great rejection and ridicule for the sake of her daughter. Faith and Love - the woman was overflowing with both. She had a parent's heart. Jesus had His Father's heart. Jesus was His Father's heart come in the flesh. I can't help feeling He was in awe of the love this woman held in her heart, and the humility she had in seeking restoration for her child... Jesus's disciples (at that particular time) were yet to know such great faith and love, I'm sure - if we're to go by their reaction. This woman could've faced these 'obstacles' with anger, with pride, by turning away at any given time, by bowing to the harshness of Jesus' disciples, by accusing Jesus of being heartless, and so on...but she didn't. She reached beyond ego, beyond fear, and took hold of great faith. She reached beyond those that tried to stop her. She reached directly for Jesus... Surely this is what we experience at times, also?
- "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table." Again she acknowledges who Jesus is. Lord. Master. And she confesses to seeing herself as the dog, it would seem. She did not allow pride to come between her and Jesus. She did not allow pride to overshadow her love for her daughter, or to stop her from going after what she was after. She laid down her pride for her daughter, knowing Jesus could give her what was needed. She didn't back down. She didn't back away. She didn't give up. She didn't allow anyone to keep her from reaching Jesus. And she never took on offense. Love and faith won her needs for her. Love, faith and persistence.
- Can't you hear Jesus rejoicing? I see His eyes light up with a huge smile as He says, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." He rejoices with her! For her, even! I can sense a tear of delight in His eye. :) Gotta love Jesus's reaction. :)
- Surely this is a story of faith? A message to us not to give up. To push forward to Jesus. To not let anyone get in the way of us reaching out to Him; of having Him meet our needs. To persist until the healing is given. To take His slow response not as a denial but as a time when we get to know our own heart, or a time when we grow faith and use it rather than toss it out in frustration and impatience? James 1:2-8 "
- I also love this passage because it reminds me of a picture God gave me once. I was young in my 'public' faith, and very shy and insecure with it. God showed me a picture of me sitting under a table, with my husband and our children, eating the crumbs that fell on the floor, and happy to be doing so. Then He said, "I want you [all] up at the table, and invite all who come your way to join you." So, here I am, reading this passage of Scripture, knowing God's heart, knowing Jesus's heart, knowing they are calling you to join them at their table. You're not a dog. You are the one Jesus came for. The one He suffered and fought for. He offers you all He has; all you need... You're not to live a 'crumby' life. Arise and come and join us. Eat (learn, gain knowledge and understanding, receive healing and wholeness and all God has to offer - all is laid out on the table for you, whatever you need; receive love and acceptance and wholeness)... live and be happy. <3
28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”