There is a story that has rustled the feathers of Jesus’ disciples and many others who didn’t understand what Jesus was showing them. Let me show you what I am talking about:
A Canaanite woman came to [Jesus] and began to shout, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all.
Then his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away. She keeps shouting behind us.” Jesus responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel.”
She came to him, bowed down, and said, “Lord, help me!”
]Jesus replied, “It’s not right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “You’re right, Lord. But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters’ tables.”
Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, you have strong faith! What you wanted will be done for you.” At that moment her daughter was cured (Matthew 15:21-28)
So what was going on here? This woman was all torn up and persisted in asking Jesus to heal her daughter of a demon that was tormenting her. Now, she was very sincere in her desire and her request, but the disciples tried to get Jesus to get rid of her (real compassionate, don’t you think?), “Lord, send her away, get rid of her. She won’t stop bothering us.” Oh, but did you notice Jesus’ response to the woman’s pleas: “Jesus did not answer a word” Ouch!
Do you ever feel like that woman? You keep crying out to the Lord, but He doesn’t “answer a word.” I bet that gives you a lot of confidence, doesn’t it? Jesus ignored the whole situation. Why would he do this? Jesus knew this woman’s story would be told for generations, for hundreds of years, did He want to reveal a truth to everyone who would read it? I think so . . .
He seems to be testing the woman’s faith when he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Christ was saying, “I came for the salvation of the Jews. Why should I waste their gospel on a Gentile?”
Now that statement would have sent most of us on our way, but not the woman! She didn’t budge! Let me ask you, how often do you give up on prayer? How many times have you grown weary and reasoned, “I’ve sought the Lord; I prayed and asked; but I didn’t get any results”?
Ah, but how did this woman respond? She didn’t complain, or shake an accusing finger, saying, “Why are you denying me, Jesus? That’s not fair. Are you as ‘just and loving‘ as everyone says you are, or not?” No, no, Scripture says just the opposite: “The woman came and knelt before him.” One version says, “she knelt and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” Wow! What an attitude!!
What happens next is hard to read. Jesus again verbally slaps the woman down as He responds even harsher! He told her, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” Huh? Did he just call her a dog? Oh, be patient, he was testing her.
Now she could have been quite insulted at that. But no, the mother answered him, “You’re right, Lord. But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters’ tables.” What an incredible reply! That determined woman was not going to give into her pursuit of Jesus. Nothing was going to make her give up. Remember the story of Jacob wrestling with “a man” all night long? (We find it in Genesis 32:24-26). After wrestling all night, the man said, “Let me go!” But Jacob said, “Nope, I’m not letting you up until you bless me!” Well, how about that! The “man” he was wrestling did indeed bless him.
With the Canaanite woman, the Lord commended her for tenacity. Jesus told her, “Woman, you have strong faith!” Wow! How would you like the Lord looking you eyeball-to-eyeball and say, “You have strong faith!”? Then he added, “What you wanted will be done for you.” And “At that moment her daughter was cured”! (15:28).
Friends, I am telling you right now, never settle for crumbs. We have been promised all the grace and mercy we need for our crises. And that includes every crisis involving our families (saved or unsaved); our physical bodies; our relationships; our employment — every area of our lives. We have been invited to come boldly to Christ’s throne, with confidence.
Now, I dare you to go out and take on the day!
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