Reflecting on God’s Word . . .

Matthew 15:21-28 NLT
[21] Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

[22] A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

[23] But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

[24] Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

[25] But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

[26] Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

[27] She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

[28] “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Reflection . . .

What is Jesus doing here? Some would like to suggest that he is bullying this poor woman, making racist comments to her, or at least speaking down to her in a condescending manner. Without understanding the context and culture of the times, that would certainly appear to be what’s happening here.

The Jews were seen as the chosen ones of God, his people. The Samaritans and certainly the Gentiles were looked down on by the Jews and wanted to have nothing to do with them. Jesus was sent to Israel to proclaim that the Messiah had come, that was his mission in the sense of proclaiming the Good News to his own people. But here, in this passage we see something interesting at the end which helps us understand that he is not mocking her or speaking down to her.

Instead, Jesus uses a form of interaction that initiates a response from the woman to plead even further with him — that even the most lowly are worthy of what little he might have to offer!

Jesus response finally stating that her faith is great! Jesus only uses those words of two people in the book of Matthew, of this gentile woman and of the Roman centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13).

This woman approaches Jesus in the correct way, she asks him to have mercy on her — “Have mercy on me!” Then, she asks him to do something for her. Even with the disinterest of the disciples and Jesus’ apparently ignoring her, she insists! “Lord, help me!”

What we learn from this story is that we are to approach the Lord, humbly and with our need, but we are to be persistent too! That’s what demonstrates great faith!