By Esther Ademiju
Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite Bible stories. You have probably heard or read it before and I pray it ministers unto you.
This story is in the Book of Matthew 15:21-28.
Read with me.
21 When Jesus left there, he withdrew to the area of Tyreand Sidon.
22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely tormented by a demon.”
23 Jesus did not say a word to her. His disciples approached him and urged him, “Send her away because she’s crying out after us.”
This story tells us that Jesus momentarily was not in theregion of the Jews or Israelites. He was in the Gentiles areas. And a Canaanite woman saw him and asked for mercy. Notice she recognized Jesus as Lord, Son of David. She has probably heard of him and she calls him by his identity.
Even though she said. “Have mercy on me.” Her daughter was the one who needed mercy and deliverance. But she identified with her daughter. As a parent, when your child is ill, it’s like you are ill too.
But surprisingly, Jesus ignored her. He didn’t say a word.I don’t know about you but this reaction from Jesus made me pause and wonder,“Why?” When we read other stories, we see that Jesus is usually willing andable to help.
So I wondered.
To make things worse, the disciples said, “Send her away because she’s crying out after us.”
This made me know that Jesus didn’t just stand there and ignore this woman, he was also walking away from her and she was crying out after him and his disciples. The disciples also didn’t help matters, they either meant that Jesus should just heal her daughter so she can stop following them or send her away empty. Either one doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know.
But when his disciples said that, Jesus said to the woman.
24 He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Yes, it is true that Jesus was sent to the Jews and brought salvation to the Jews first, then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16). And this woman happens to be a gentile, so Jesus was right. But we know that Jesus is so merciful that he wouldn’t ignore anybody that comes to him for mercy.
So why isn’t he healing this woman’s daughter?
I kept asking the Holy Spirit for an explanation (It’s beenover 2 months) and I kept studying. So thank God for the great revelation inthis short passage.
I realized that Jesus is all knowing and all powerful. Even while on earth, the fullness of God dwelt in him (Colossians 1:19).
He could heal this woman’s daughter immediately she asked but he was going to strengthen her resolve and faith first.
At first, I thought Jesus was just being mean but I realised that this was intentional. Jesus knows everyone’s heart and the strength of our faith. So, Jesus was testing this woman. This is just like whenGod tested Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son. God never intended for the child to be sacrificed, it was to test and strengthen Abraham’s faith. Thisis a similar situation.
So Jesus ignored her, then he disqualified her (“I was only sent to the Jews”).
I don’t know about you, but I might have quit crying afterJesus at this point.
25 But she came, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, help me!”
As Christians, we must learn to persist in the place of prayer. Remember the parable of the persistent widow in the book of Luke 18. She was dealing with an unjust judge and persisted. Though unjust the judge finally granted her desire because of her persistence. How much more will our Father who is a just judge answer our prayers if we persist. He wants our faith to grow, so sometimes he delays the answer (though his timing is always perfect) so we can persist in faith.
This gentile woman persisted even after Jesus’sdiscouraging statement, “I was not sent to you.”
You think that was bad?
See Jesus’s next response.
26 He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
This statement here is the extreme. Jesus just called her adog (Back then the Jews referred to the Gentiles as dogs). Humiliation!
First, he ignored her.
Second, he disqualified her.
Third, he humiliated her.
Jesus is basically saying, “I can’t give what belongs to the children (Jews/Israelites) to the dogs (Gentiles).”
This woman has been ignored, disqualified and humiliated and this was a perfect opportunity for PRIDE to set in. But she chose to remain humble, selfless and full of faith for the sake of her hurting child at home. She had Esther’s spirit. “If I perish, I perish, I will not leave without my child healed.”
Jesus just kept throwing things at her and we usually don’t see Jesus like this. But sometimes the loving father has got to throw somethings at you, so he can prune and strengthen you. He wants to see if you willgive up or keep pushing with faith.
Let’s see her response.
27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Oh, I love this NAMELESS gentile woman. Is she inspiring you as much as she inspired me?
She said. YES, you are right Lord. I AM A DOG.
“Yes I am a dog, but even dogs can eat crumbs from under the table. So can I get some crumbs?”
How far will you humble yourself to get what you want?
How far will you humble yourself for your child?
Remember this healing she was asking for, wasn’t for herpersonally but her daughter.
SELFLESSNESS (Love your neighbor as yourself).
Her statement also shows faith. She is saying, “All I need is crumbs. If a full bread can fill children, crumbs will be more than enoughfor me as a dog. Crumbs of your healing power can heal my child. If
one woman can be healed just by touching the hem of your garment, Lord, I have faith that crumbs are more than enough to heal my child.”
I am speechless at this revelation and faith.
Glory to God.
Jesus heard this and said to her.
28 Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And from that moment her daughter was healed.
Now we see the difference. Jesus changed his countenance towards her after receiving the response he wanted. FAITH!
Great faith is very attractive and admired by Jesus.
Faith looks good on you darling. Jesus can’t resist it.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without Faith we cannot pleaseGod.
This nameless gentile woman pleased Jesus with her faith.
Faith is one of the key principles of everything about Christianity. Even before the new testament, we are told that Abraham simply believed (had faith) and it was credited to him as righteousness.
It is by faith that we are saved, made righteous and dolife.
We are called to live by faith and not by sight.
A faithless Christian is no Christian.
Your faith is not just for you. The disciples that werethere that day and wanted Jesus to send this woman away ended up learning from her persistence and faith. They were silenced.
Not only is your faith admired, attractive and pleasing to Jesus. Your faith also inspires and saves others. Through your faith, many will come to Jesus.
I do not think it is wrong to say that Jesus went to the Tyre & Sidon area specifically for this woman and her daughter. Not just to heal her daughter but to strengthen her faith and also teach his disciples somelessons.
The best way to live and grow from faith to faith is to ensure we keep an intimate and close relationship with God. Faith is a giftthat we must unwrap daily. Study God’s word and live it by faith. Obey byfaith. Step out by faith.
Because we serve a God who is so big and mighty and gives his children big God dreams and purposes and the only way we can even imagine them happening is by faith. We can’t please God without faith.
Keep praying and persisting in faith.
Faith makes the impossible possible.
So, darling put on faith.
Faith looks good on you.
You are Eternally Loved
Author @ Growing God’s Eternal Family.https://growinggodseternalfamily.com/