Exodus 9-11 Matthew 15:21-39
“Jesus left that place and went to the area of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that area came to Jesus and cried out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon, and she is suffering very much.’” (Matthew 15:21-22 NCV)
This visit and the interaction here begins one of the strangest conversations I’ve read about the life of Jesus. As the story continued, Jesus ignored the woman until the disciples suggested Jesus send her away. Then Jesus let her know that He was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. When she called on Jesus after that, He called her, in essence, a dog. Then, in a form of verbal jiu-jitsu, she reminded Jesus that dogs could be taken care of from the crumbs which engendered a positive response from Jesus which included the healing of her daughter. Someday, I’ll understand this story, but for now, too many questions remain.
Was Jesus testing His disciples – wondering how they’d react? If so, they failed big time because Jesus ended up giving this lady what she wanted. Why would Jesus go to a Gentile area and then blow off a lady who came to Him because she was a Gentile? See what I mean about questions? This doesn’t sound like Jesus at all, does it? Perhaps a clue to unpacking the meaning of this story can be found in the story of the woman at the well, whom Jesus knew all about, according to the woman. I think Jesus knew more about this lady than we see in Scripture and that, perhaps, she had talked about Jews in the exact same way that Jesus was now talking about her. Jesus planned to heal her daughter from the beginning, but she needed the rebuke and to show repentance. What does that mean for us, then? Again, I’m left with more questions than answers, but we won’t go wrong if we find ways to extend grace to those who have wronged us and help them repent as we work on restoring broken relationships.
Lord, remind me that in the midst of my questions, You want to love others through me. Help me be sensitive to their needs, and let me show them You love.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.