Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Persistent Faith

“Then, Jesus replied to her, ‘Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.’ And from that moment her daughter was cured.” (Matthew 15:28)

The interaction between Jesus and this Canaanite woman is fascinating.

Following a confrontation with the Pharisees over the tradition of the elders, Jesus led His disciples away from Galilee on a teaching and training tour. He led them to the seacoast commercial city of Tyre, and there a Canaanite woman (some translate this as “Syro-Phoenecian” woman) heard Jesus was there. How she heard this, and how she knew of His capabilities, we do not know. The Bible tells us that her daughter was demon-possessed. Somehow this woman learned where Jesus and His disciples were staying and made her way there. She came and continually cried out to Jesus, addressing Him as, “Lord, Son of David.”

Initially, Jesus made no response. He kept silent. His disciples urged Him to send her away, but the fact that He did not tells us that He saw a teachable moment, almost as if to say to His disciples, “Watch this!”

The response Jesus finally gave seems cruel. He said He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. What we must note, however, is that He did not say “no” or “go away.” He was baiting her. She saw the open invitation and knelt before Him and asked Him to help her. Jesus put some more bait out. “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.” She took the bait, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table.” Jesus then knew He had His teachable moment for His disciples. “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And it was.

Jesus took this approach not to be hurtful to this lady, but to show His disciples what real faith looks like. Faith that is real is persistent.

Lord, May our faith in You be as persistent and “bulldoggish” as this woman’s was. Thank You for letting us also learn from her today. Amen.

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