Jesus and the boys headed from the northern coast of the sea of Galilee up to the region to the north near the Mediterranean Sea coast towns of Tyre and Sidon. (about 40 or 50 miles) If they were Jersey boys they might have said they were going “down the shore.”
On the way back toward Galilee a Canaanite woman sought them out.
Here is what happened:
Woman: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.
[But He did not answer her a word.]
Disciples [to Jesus]: Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.
Jesus: I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Woman [groveling]: Lord, help me!
Jesus: It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.
Woman: Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Jesus: “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.”
Her daughter was healed at once.
(from Matthew 15:22-28 NASB slightly altered)
I love these little encounters with Jesus.
My first impression is honestly “How rude!”
I get that she is a Canaanite – and the Canaanites and Israel don’t have a great history.
I get that she is - well – a woman, and in that day women did not walk in the honor, dignity and freedom due them (we could still do better here.)
But come on Jesus – I thought God heard and answered every prayer that passes our lips.
- She called You Lord!
- She was tapping the mercy of the One who said ‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.
- She called you ‘Son of David’
- She was begging for the needs of her daughter
How can you resist the pleas (prayers) of one who addresses you in this way?
It get’s worse
First He ignores her
But now He is calling her names
I have come for the Jews, I can’t heal the daughter of this Canaanite dog!
She is unfazed.
She accepts His demeaning language, but will not accept His refusal. She will not relent, but keeps on asking, keeps on seeking, keeps on knocking at the Door to her only hope.
How quickly do you relent? If you pray for a loved one’s healing and it feels like the heavens are brass, do you shrug your shoulders and write it off as the will of God? [Tweet This]
When Jesus taught about prayer, He used stories about persistence, and I think that is something we can glean from this woman.
Don’t give up!
Don’t assume that because it feels like Jesus is ignoring you, or worse telling you “No Way” that you are doomed.
Press in – hover around the table and hunt for the crumbs.
In the end Jesus is completely impressed with the Canaanite Woman’s ‘faith.’
Don’t give up!