Scripture: Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV)
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Every year, I choose a “word” for the year.
This year, the word I chose is “believe.” Actually, to take it further, I chose “trust and believe.” No matter what, I’ve determined to be consistent in my trusting and persistent in my believing.
In this passage, a Canaanite woman is persistent in her belief that Jesus can help her daughter. This Gentile woman comes and falls at Jesus’ feet, asking for healing over her demon-possessed daughter. At first, she and those around her experience silence from Jesus.
Have you ever been there before? Have you been in the place where you’ve made your request known, brought it to the feet of Jesus, only to experience silence?
Jesus finally answers, saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” He calls out the fact that she isn’t a Jew. Yet, the Canaanite woman persists. She kneels at his feet and begs Jesus to help her. Jesus’ next response is somewhat insulting.
He replies, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs,” further acknowledging her status of her not being a Jew, part of God’s chosen people.
What happens next is what seems to have made Jesus pay more attention.
She says, “Yes it is, Lord‚ even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” In other words, she is saying, “I’ll have what the Jews are having even if it’s just the crumbs‚ because no matter how little it is from you, your little is what I need. Your little can save my situation and speak into my desperation.
And Jesus, recognizing her faith, her persistence, her “I won’t let you go until you bless me” desperation, is moved to action. Even though she isn’t a Jew, Jesus responds to her persistence because of her faith in His ability to do it.
The Canaanite woman came to Him, not worried about who she was, or how others would see her. She was desperate and she knew Jesus was the only one she could turn to. In our desperation, in our persistence, in our belief, Jesus sees our faith.
- How are you challenged by the Canaanite woman’s persistence?
- What do you need from Jesus today? How can you bring your needs before Jesus with persistence and faith, trusting Him to be faithful to you?
Soul Care Practice
Become aware of God’s loving presence and imagine Jesus saying these words to you: “You have great faith!” Talk with Jesus about any thoughts, reflections, challenges, and emotions that come up within you. How can you embody these words and follow Christ in your home, neighborhood, and workplace?
Read Jesus’ words again slowly: “You have great faith!” How did these words shape and guide you today? Pray your thoughts, desires, needs, struggles, and joys from today. As you go to bed, rest in God’s presence.
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5)
Written by LaRosa Tate, Co-Founder of Fellowship Church and Co-Lead of Fellowship Moms, Women Are, and Girls Are