By Mary Haskett
Recently the pastors in our church have been encouraging the congregation to study Jesus’ ministry in some detail. We receive handouts in our Sunday bulletins dictating which Scriptures to read for each day of the week.
Not only that, we must tease out the jewels we find in the read and then determine the application we can apply in our Christian walk.
I became intrigued with the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter—the one who suffered from demon possession. You doubtless remember the story which is told in the gospels of Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30. At first Jesus did not even acknowledge this desperate mother and her pleas. And to add to her distress, the disciples urged Jesus to send her away. But she persisted.
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:25-27 NIV)
We need to understand that the Jews referred to the Gentiles as dogs—a common practice in those days. Jesus, metaphorically speaking, depicted a scene of one group feasting—the Jews, and the other—the Gentiles waiting on the sidelines for left over crumbs. In other words only the first group would receive salvation and blessings. He had already told this poor mother that He had been sent to the lost sheep of Israel (v:24). But she, a Gentile, knew of His compassion for all, and so she pressed on.
Was Jesus testing this mother’s faith? Without a doubt, when at the end of their conversation He said, ”Woman you have great faith! Your request is granted.”(Matthew 15:28 NIV)
What then is the life application we can apply here? This is what I found to apply to my life:
- That we must love all people as God does
- That we should exercise faith in all circumstances
- That our prayers be sincere and unwavering.
Let us have the persistence of the Canaanite woman. Never give up! There may be years of waiting. But maintain a quiet and steadfast confidence that He will answer in His time.
Dear Lord Jesus how good it is to know that you hear our prayers. We know we sometimes get desperate about a situation and full of angst. But help us to wait on you and be assured that in Your time You will answer our prayers.