Thursday, February 3, 2022
21-22 From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
23 Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
24 Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 Then the woman came back to Jesus, dropped to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”
26 He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”
27 She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
28 Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.
-Matthew 15:23-28 The Message
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
Verse 21: Jesus went away from there and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Verse 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 severely demon-possessed.”
Verse 22 study: In Mark’s Gospel chapter 7 verse 26, this woman is called a “Gentile of the Syrophosnician race,” showing that she is from territory Northwest of Galilee where the cities of Tyre and Sidon were located. Matthew calls her a Canaanite, meaning her ancient ancestors who were enemies of Israel. Matthew’s Jewish audience would have understood the significance of Jesus helping this woman.
Verse 23: But He did not answer her with even a word. And His disciples came up and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us!”
Verse 23 study: The disciples asked Jesus to get rid of the woman because of her nagging attitude, not to mention the fact the disciples believe she was bothering Jesus. The disciples did not show any compassion for her situation, sensitivity to any of her needs. It is always possible that we stay focused on spiritual needs or matters that what we miss is the real need around us. This is especially high, if we are prejudiced against needy people or if they caused us inconvenience. Instead of looking at it as being bothered, look at it as an opportunity that surrounds you. Be open-minded to the beauty of God’s message for everybody, and make an effort not to shut out those who are different from you.
Verse 24: But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Verse 24 study: Jesus’ words do not contradict the truth that God’s message is for all people.
Psalm 22:27: All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
Isaiah 56:7: Even those I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
Matthew 28:19: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:9-12: 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written: “Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing praises to Your name.” 10 Again he says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” 12 Again Isaiah says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him will the Gentiles hope.”
When Jesus said these words, he was on a mission to the Gentile people in Gentile territory. He ministered to the Gentiles on many occasions. Jesus was telling the woman that Jews were to have the first opportunity to accept him as the Messiah because God wanted them to present the message of salvation to the rest of the world (Genesis 12:3). Jesus was not rejecting the Canaanite woman, he probably wanted to test her faith, or used the situation as another opportunity to teach that faith is available to all people.
Verse 25: But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
Verse 26: Yet He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Verse 27: And she said, “Yes, Lord; but please help, for even the dogs feed on the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Verse 28: Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at once.
Verses 26-28 studies: Dog was a term the Jews used commonly applied to Gentiles because the Jews considered these pagan people no more likely than dogs to receive God’s blessing. Jesus didn’t degrade the woman by using this term; he was reflecting the Jews’ attitude so as to contrast it with his own. The woman didn’t argue, instead of her using Jesus’ choice words, she agreed to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessing for her daughter. Ironically, many Jews lose God’s blessing and salvation because they rejected Jesus while many Gentiles would find salvation because recognized and accepted him.