Sorry to be posting late today. I’ve changed up my schedule again! Now I’m exercising after my devotions, instead of blogging, because it seemed I was never able to squeeze that in late in the day! Blogging is a “quieter” activity that I can do easily while the girls are napping! Look for me late tomorrow, too. Until then, here’s what I’ve got to share. I hope this is a blessing.
Today I was reading Matthew 15. I came across the following verses:
22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
The portion of scripture that I have placed in bold type is the part which puzzled me today. This comment that our Lord makes to this Syrophenician woman sounds so, I don’t know, condescending?! It sounds as though Jesus is being a “respecter of persons” even though the Bible clearly says that God is no such person. Because I have a fairly strong Bible foundation – thanks to the patient teaching of my parents, siblings, Pastor and husband – I know that being a respecter of persons, or favoring one person over another, is sin. Furthermore, I know that God incarnate – Jesus – knew no sin. So I must be looking at this wrong! I must not be seeing something correctly. Upon further inspection, and with guidance from the Lord, I saw what I was missing.
As we read on in the passage, we see that in the end, Jesus does heal this woman’s daughter. Jesus, in fact, is no respecter of persons. He willingly and lovingly answers this lady’s request, and also commends her for her faith. Why, then, did He tell her He was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel”? Why did He call her a “dog”? I believe that this test or question of her faith was part of God’s plan to increase her faith. If nothing else, we see this woman’s love for her daughter put to the test. She was willing to be publicly humiliated by our Creator to see her daughter healed! What love! I would be shaking and quaking if I had approached Jesus! Once he said he was sent only for Jews, I believe I would have turned the brightest red you ever saw and burst into tears! Not this woman. She knew He could heal her daughter. She would do all she could to convince the “King of the Jews” to have mercy on her – a Gentile dog- because she wanted to see a miracle! We see her boldness, and her faith, as she replies to the Savior, “Truth, Lord: (I can hear her voice trembling) yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Wow. She proclaimed it to all listening: “I am nothing but a “dog” as the Jews refer to me, but You are my master, no matter what I am called.” Jesus said to her “O woman, great is thy faith:” Can you hear the admiration in His voice? Can you see the love for her in his eyes? Do you see the tears spilling out of her eyes, as the Savior of the world grants her request? I can. This isn’t in the Bible, but I picture her falling to her knees in tears, and thanking the Lord.
He’s so good to us. We are all “dogs”. None of us deserve Heaven, yet He’s made it available to us at great cost to only Himself. Not only that, friends, but He places a great value upon us! He loves us.
I believe Jesus could see her heart, and He knew her faith was great, without questioning her. But, when He questioned her faith, then all those watching could see her faith first-hand. She was a great testimony of what Jesus can do when we believe!
He is still the same today. What are you needing from the Lord? Do you need a miracle today? I sure could use one! Do you need to feel His loving arms embrace you today? He can do it, but you must believe. Is He testing you right now? If He is, then just proclaim your love and belief even louder! Are you too heart broken to even form the words of faith? That’s okay. I’ve got a verse for you, too. Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Just cry to Him. He promises to be close by when you do. Just keep believing and you’ll be sure to hear Him say “O woman! Great is thy faith!”