“… a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David, my daughter is severely oppressed by demon’” (Matthew 15:22).
A mother, living in the territory that gave the world Jezebel, pleaded for her daughter. She came to the Son. She had to take this chance. The torment her child suffered weighed heavy on her.
She had heard of Jesus and believed Him to be the King, a man of authority and miracle. Now, here He was in her region, close enough for her to fall at His feet.
She was not a Jew, however, but she would not let this stop her.
In her mind, it was a small thing that she asked of this Son of David. She understood His power, and she figured that His compassion would not fail her. She also figured that His men were as merciful as He was merciful. She called after the disciples for surely they knew His heart.
Did the disciples really know Him and His ways?
This passage reveals that they were still learning, for they asked Jesus to send this woman away. She came to be a bother to them. The encounter served to expose their prejudices. They wanted her gone so they could get on with the work among “their” people, the children of Israel.
Jesus was about to show them just what His work was really about. This mother’s tenacious faith He would use to speak to their fickle hearts.
The Last and the Least
The Lord had spoken this way: “the last shall be first.” What is done to the lesser ones matters. The love and kindness shown to the least is what matters most.
This mother worshipped Jesus, she knew Him in a way that the disciples did not. She prayed. He was silent. She came again and He answered with what seemed to be an insult — “It’s not right to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” Yes, Jesus in fact said this very thing. He said it for a reason. He said it to her because it was just how His Apostles — all Jewish men — viewed those of other nations.
This mother was undeterred. She knew who she was. Jesus, to her, was greater than all of this. She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
The wall was brought down right then and there. Jesus could not refuse one so determined, so in need, so poor in spirit. He had to bless her. “O woman, how great is your faith. Be it done for you as you desire,” (Matthew 15:27-28). Jesus showed Himself as Lord of all – to this Canaanite woman and also to His chosen band of leaders.Am I this hungry for Him, for His words, for His life? I need to be if I am to be of any true use to the Kingdom of God. Click To Tweet
The Savior was and is for all people. He came for the whole world.
Yes, the last ones in our minds are first with Jesus. This woman wanted only the crumbs and she knew that they would be enough.
Am I this hungry for Him, for His words, for His life? I need to be if I am to be of any true use to the Kingdom of God.
Too often, we seek the big loaf and ignore the pieces. The disciples were guilty of this mode of thinking. Their minds were, perhaps, too focused on matters of ruling and reigning rather than on helping the hurting.
Crumbs from His table feed us and they feed well. Stray threads of His garment convey virtue and healing. We need merely to taste and touch these bits to feel His power.
Think of what Jesus instructed after His feeding of the 5,000. “Gather up the fragments, let nothing be lost” (see John 6:12).
Am I hungry enough to feed off the bits? When I want not, these are the times when I waste. I can be too full of myself and too familiar with Him and His purposes so as to lose an appetite for love and faith and service. I am prone to fail and miss seeing Him in the edges of my way.
I ignore the last things, the ones at the end of line and so I cannot be first. To be great in His Kingdom I must discover over and over again what it means to be the servant of all.
Let’s go back to the mother and her great heart for the Son and for her girl. She showed the Apostles something that day. And may her story show us something today.
The crumbs from the Master’s feast are precious in His sight. These bits carry with them such power. Little things, may we not despise them.
May we number ourselves with the least and the last. May we identify with the orphan, the widow, the homeless, the marginalized, the oppressed, the weary, the wasted, the wounded.
When we learn to do so, we shall experience a hunger for the holy and our hearts will be made ready for God’s filling. We shall hunger and thirst for righteousness. And His faithful Holy Spirit shall pour out upon us His comfort and contentment.