Monday, July 04, 2011

Matthew 15:21-28


21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, ``Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.'' 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, ``Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.'' 24 But He answered and said, ``I was sent only, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'' 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ``Lord, help me!'' 26 And He answered and said, ``It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.'' 27 But she said, ``Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.'' 28 Then Jesus said to her, ``O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.'' And her daughter was healed at once,.

This is an occasion on which Jesus was outside of Jewish territory. The supreme significance of the passage is that it foreshadows the going out of the gospel to the whole world; it shows us the beginning of the end of all the barriers. The Gospel was intended for the Jews first and then the Gentiles. There was no place in Palestine where he could be sure of privacy; wherever he went, the crowds would find him. So he went right north through Galilee until he came to the land of Tyre and Sidon where the Phoenicians dwelt. There, at least for a time, he would be safe from the hostility of the Scribes and Pharisees, and from the dangerous popularity of the people, since no Jew would be likely to follow him into Gentile territory.

But to Jesus there was a problem here. Here was a woman with great concern for her daughter and she was a Gentile. Jesus was primarily aiming His mission to the Jewish people, even though their response was quite negative. He had to begin with the Jews; and here was a Gentile crying for mercy. There was only one thing for him to do; he must awaken true faith in the heart of this woman.

So Jesus at last turned to her: "It is not right to take the children's bread and to throw it to the pet dogs." It is the word for pet dogs rather than the street dogs. They were household pets. The woman was a Greek; she was quick to see, and she had all a Greek's ready wit. "True," she said, "but even the dogs get their share of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." And Jesus' eyes lit up with joy at such a strong faith; and he granted her the blessing and the healing which she so much desired.

This woman's remarkable approach: 1. She had great love for her daughter!

2. She had great faith! She, even as a Gentile, recognized Jesus as the Son of David (Messianic) and ended up calling Jesus Lord.

3. She had great, persistent hope! She would not be discouraged. She didn't view Jesus as a possible helper, but her only hope!

4. She had a great, cheerful spirit! Her sense of quick wit and humor with Jesus is attractive to Jesus. He seemed to enjoy this spunky faith and hope possessed by this woman.

I think there is a lesson here on how we can approach Jesus. 1) Approach Jesus with a great love for others.

2) Approach Jesus with a great faith and trust.

3) Approach Jesus with an indomitable spirit of hope.

4) Approach Jesus with a cheerful hearted attitude.

This is the kind of approach that gets through to Jesus.