21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet (proper) to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (King James Version)
The woman being written about here is the Syrophoenician. She is a Greek resident of the area known today as Lebanon and Syria with the southern part of Turkey added in. She is definitely a Gentile who heard of the miraculous power of Jesus. She came searching for an answer. Her child was being tormented by a demon. This does not mean that the girl was possessed. The enemy has many ways in which to inflict harm on people. What we do know is that at the word of Jesus this girl was made whole. Was there physical, mental and emotional abuse? Doesn't matter for she was made whole.
The woman herself was humble. Jesus said in her hearing that he was sent to the lost house of Israel only. In her hearing he said, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast to the dogs." He portrayed this pleading woman on the same level as a dog. Did this sway her. Not at all. She understood the kind of man that Jesus was. She answered. "Truth, Lord!" She accepted being on the same level as a dog. She accepted him as Lord even though she wasn't of Israel. She was placing herself under his authority. And the rest of her answer, "yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." What did Jesus say, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Nothing stirs the heart of God more than faith. It is the chief element lacking in so many people. She has faith! She accepts him as Lord! She has a humble heart! Of course Jesus acts.
How many times do you read something and not quite get it? The woman was crying out to Jesus. The disciples approach Jesus and asked him (pleaded with him?) that he send this woman away. He said to his disciples that it isn't right to take what is meant for Israel and give it to someone else. In this case making the girl whole. What were the disciples actually asking Jesus to do? What I understand from the context is that the disciples themselves asked Jesus to heal this woman's little girl. Not because they had compassion on her. They just wanted her to get her child healed so that she would shut up and leave them alone. Not very noble of them yet they haven't undergone the born-again experience. Like everything Jesus did they just didn't quite get it.
The hero of the piece is Jesus and the shining example of humility is the woman. We often times forget that we who are Gentiles were added to the spiritual house of Israel. We forget the tremendous gift given to us. We were all like the Syrophoenician woman. We are now the disciples of Jesus. Let us hope that in our walk we are better examples of God's servants than the disciples were at that time. And if you are born-again the possibility is there... to change.
Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada