Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for Aug 16, 2020; Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 13-15, 28-32; Matthew 15: 21-28
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly. He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 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.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. Matthew 15:21-22, 24-28
I love this passage so much! I love this passage because I see myself. At least I hope and pray it would be me. Perhaps you see yourself in her, as well. You see, not coming from the Israelite lineage, I am considered a gentile, just as the Canaanite woman was considered a gentile. But being a gentile didn’t stop her from trusting that Jesus was whom he said he was – The Son of God, the long awaited Messiah of the Israelites.
It is in this faith that she pleaded with Jesus. She knew he could heal her daughter. Even though Jesus referenced himself as coming to redeem the Israelites, and that she had no inheritance in their lineage, she persisted. In fact, many people may say that Jesus downright insulted this woman by stating that she was no better than a dog on the streets, the city’s garbage collectors. Yet, she didn’t argue that fact. She didn’t get defensive and turn away. No! She acknowledged her lowliness before Jesus. She acknowledged the Israelites as God’s chosen people. She acknowledged that she, in herself and her lineage, had no right to ask Jesus for anything. But… she also knew that nothing depended upon her and that everything depended upon Jesus and his grace. His grace and mercy was sufficient for all, even just a crumb of his healing power was enough to fully accomplish anything she could need or desire. So she persisted. Her faith in Jesus as the Son of God was unwavering. In fact, just like the Centurion in Matthew 8, she didn’t even need Jesus to come see her daughter. She knew he could heal her daughter, right there, right now.
Oh to have faith like this fellow gentile woman. To trust God’s ways. To take all my sins and all my flaws, and lay myself down before him. Then know without a doubt that a drop of his forgiveness cleanses me fully, inside and out, and makes my heart glow with a joy and peace beyond measure. And then to take all my cares and concerns, the big and small, and to trust him above all things, even when the outcomes are not what I wanted or I don’t even see an answer or understand why. Just by clinging to that depth of trust in knowing that Jesus is the Saviour of the world, my Saviour, I can be assured that he is extending to me – and you can be assured that he is extending to you- the fullness of his grace and salvation. Oh to have such faith. So may we all hold fast to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and know that his grace is sufficient… even a crumb is enough.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, the Canaanite woman’s faith was not unknown to you, yet through your conversation with her, her faith was displayed to the disciples and to me. Thank-you! Her story gives me hope. Help me to be content with a crumb. Please help me to be as humble as she was, but also as persistent in seeking you as she was. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!