Jesus heals a gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter

The Miracles of Jesus

March 15, 2021

Jesus heals a gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter

Matthew 15:21-28

For many (including myself), this Bible story is challenging to read, as it seems to put Jesus in a bad light. Let’s read it now, then take a moment to think about it.

“And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, 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 a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.’

A bit of a tense scene between this Gentile woman and Jesus, isn’t it? Let’s try and sort it out.

  • There’s something familiar about this encounter, isn’t there?
  • Remember the Centurion?
    • He acknowledged who Jesus was
    • He had great faith
    • He felt unworthy of having Jesus come to his home to heal his servant.
  • In this case, a gentile woman who lives in a land of unbelievers believes Jesus is the Messiah.
  •  “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David
    • This woman knew exactly who Jesus was and addressed Him as such.
  • But, Jesus says the strangest thing. To many, His following remark comes across as derogatory.
    • “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 
      • This is true; Jesus was sent by His Father to redeem the Jews. This was His priority.
      • But at the same time, Jesus was sent for everyone. And He showed that by healing and conversing with anyone, Gentile and Jew alike.
  • Again, the woman begs for her daughter to be healed. “Lord, help me.” 
  • And, once again, Jesus seems to put her off and even belittle her.
    • “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 
      • It’s accurate that in those days, Jews treated Gentiles, let’s say, disrespectfully. They even called them dogs.
      • In this case, Jesus was not calling her a street dog or anything. In Greek, Jesus’ reference to dogs means; a pet or a lapdog a child would have.
        • If you’ve ever had a dog, the ensuing line will hit home with you.
  • She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 
    • The woman knew precisely what Jesus was saying. She understood that He had priorities that had to be met. And, Jesus awaited her reaction.
    • As I said, anyone who has had a dog knows that the dog eats whatever hits the floor. We also know that on many occasions, we actually give food to the dog from our plate.
    • This is what she was asking for. Or as the saying say, “Come on, throw me a bone.”
  • Like the Centurion, Jesus saw what a great faith this woman had and answered her pleas with the healing of her daughter. And like the healing of the Centurion’s servant, Jesus never even went to her house.

This Gentile woman did specifically what Jesus calls on us to do every day when we have a request.

The woman went to Jesus over and over again. She asked Jesus, she did seek Him out, and then the woman knocked on the door with everything she had.

You and I can do the same thing every day.

Seek the Lord, for He is good. He listens, and he responds.

Dear Jesus. Keep our faith resilient, and continue to encourage us to ask, seek and know. We know your there, we know you listen, and we patiently wait for your answers. Amen

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