Tessa, I am concerned about you and so I decided to drop today's project and write to you. With your concern about your daughters health, I was thinking about someone else in Scripture who had a daughter with a huge condition that only God could heal. This was the story of the Canaanite woman who approached Jesus on behalf of her daughter who was tormented by a demon.
- Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon” (Mt 15:22).
This is one of my favorite Bible paragraphs, but this wasn't always the case because Jesus initially resisted by saying I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and associated her with a dog. My first question was, why would He do such a thing? Was Jesus being kind of nasty? And I had one other question; why did she put up with this? Was this a seeming put down or a real put down on the part of Jesus?
- But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting 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.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”(Mt 15:23-26).
Tessa, you lost a number of friends, who turned their backs on you in your time of need, and so they left. Keep in mind, the disciples did the same thing, turning their backs on the Canaanite woman, who was trying to get Jesus' attention. Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us. Tessa, you may not have the attention of some of your friends, but you do have the attention of Jesus.
As to my second question first, why did she persist when Jesus resisted? She knew of all the prophets in all of Israel, Jesus is the one who could cure her child. Jesus was curing people all over the region and everybody knew this. She could have even been perplexed, because it would appear initially that Jesus was resistant. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
At this point in her life, the Canaanite woman looked past what Jesus was saying because there was something going on that was far greater than her pride. She was concerned about her daughter and the fact that she was tormented by a demon. Tessa, you, very much like the Canaanite woman, have set aside your pride and asked for prayer because there is something bigger than you going on here. Your daughter needs a great healing. The Canaanite woman knew Jesus surely could do something, if only He would, so she persisted.
- But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Mt 15:27).
I just love her tenacity. She wants her child healed no matter what. And so in the midst of the disciples wanting to send her away and Jesus' resisting her request, she continues to pursue Him until He heals her daughter.
- Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly (Mt 15:28).
And now to answer my first question. Why did Jesus initially resist? He could have healed her immediately, but didn't. I think the reason is obvious; He wanted to draw her out further and not only heal her daughter, but He wanted all the world, in every generation to see her great faith. If verse 28 did not exist and Jesus walked away from her, then it is a put down. However, this verse does exist and Jesus didn't walk away. He healed her daughter.
We say it is all about Jesus and it is. However, Jesus doesn't use the occasion to brag about himself for having worked a great miracle. What does He do; He brags about the Canaanite woman for her great faith. Jesus said, The humble shall be exalted (Mt 23:12). She humbled herself before the Lord and Jesus exalted her.
Woman, great is your faith!
The Apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Hb 13:8). We do not have a Jesus, yesterday that is any different from the Jesus of today. Tessa, when you are in prayer, don't forget to remind Jesus that He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. She asked for crumbs and Jesus gave her much more. He will give you much more as well. Have an expectant faith; Jesus is a big God and He can handle your tenacity. You have come before Jesus in prayer on behalf of your daughter. Now, Jesus is lifting you up in front of all the saints, angels and all creation, and He is saying to you Tessa, woman, great is your faith. Now look for your miracle.