15:21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
15:22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.”
15:23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”
15:24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
15:25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
15:26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
15:27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
This woman’s faith and trust in Jesus is night and day to what the disciples were feeling in yesterday’s passage. She comes to the Lord with an open heart that is fully surrendering to His ability to heal her daughter. There was no hesitation in her pleading and response to Jesus. She knows and believes that He has the power to do great works and in this case, heal her daughter.
Think about the last time you came crying to God with enough faith to believe He will answer you. There are so many moments in our lives that we are carrying heavy burdens and truly want the help of God, but our lack of faith can get in the way of believing that He both hears us and has the power to answer.
This woman exhibits what it means to have courage and faith even in the midst of a hard situation. There is a question about why Jesus’ challenged her in this way. One commentator says it could also be that there were many Gentiles that often times believed in magicians and those who claimed to have certain powers. It could also be because as a Gentile she may have failed to recognize who Jesus was and the redemptive plan He had for the nation. However, none of these things are true to this woman. She is able to recognize who He is, the true Messiah and put her faith in the one who has the power to heal and save.
The Apostle Paul called himself the apostle to the gentiles. Part of this was because it was thought that Christianity was just for the Jews. To be fair to the early church, Christ himself said that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus’s top priority was, in fact, to the nation of Israel. However, as we have seen in the previous day’s devotional posts, God’s plan was always to bring the gentiles in the fold. We see this even in Jesus’ actions who claimed that He came only for the Jews. Jesus would not turn away anyone who had faith. Not even a Canaanite woman.
If we remember our Old Testament timeline, it was the Canaanites who God told Israel to drive out of the land because they defiled it. Yet, they chose to stop half way and even worshiped the Canaanite gods and married into Canaanite families. The fact that the Canaanites still existed in Jesus’ day was a sore spot to the post-exilic Jews, who viewed them as no better than animals. To even eat at the same table with them was a sin of sorts.
Yet, Jesus was not concerned with this history. He was ready to welcome anyone with faith. God has an open door policy. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to work to keep it. We don’t have to be from the right people or from the right social class. Like the woman from Canaan, we simply just have to have faith.