S (Scripture): Matthew 15:21
After going out from there, Jesus went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!” 23 But he did not answer her a word. Then his disciples came and begged him, “Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us.” 24 So he answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!” 26 “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” he said. 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied,38 “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
O (Observation): What a strange situation. This scene almost depicts Jesus as cruel, even calling this poor woman a dog! Why would Jesus do such a thing?
My focus, though, is not so much on the words, but the actions. This woman (a non-Jew) was called to believe in Jesus and what he stands for – God on earth. Because of her faith, Jesus heals her daughter. She recognizes that her background does not make her worthy. But rather her faith in Jesus is what makes her worthy.
A (Application): What’s in the past can have a way of holding us back from what’s ahead. Failure can make us think we are not worthy of a future victory. We begin to tell ourselves a story that isn’t true.
Faith is not about coming from the right family, the right background, or the right “people.”
Faith is about trusting that God will guide your future, regardless of your past.
I don’t relate to the Canaanite woman, because I’ve been a part of the church my whole life. If anything, the story offends someone like me. I can start to feel like I deserve to be in the church and to receive Jesus’ blessing, but she doesn’t.
So because of this story, I am challenged to understand that Jesus expands the boundaries beyond those that I have established. Mercy runs far and wide to bring in those who believe.
Who have you written off? What miracles of inclusion have you witnessed? What has been the outcome?
P (Prayer): God of all, you open our hearts and minds to your gracious will. Give us faith to instill that good will towards those we meet today. Amen.