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The story about the Gentile woman whose daughter needed Jesus’ healing touch always disturbed me. The woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and He tells her the children must be fed before the dogs. Now, that does not sound like the loving Savior to whom I look for comfort. (Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30)
So I asked Him to enlighten me. I know, that may seem rather bold of me, but our Lord knows I am an inquiring person. He made me that way, thus He knows how I would respond.
Ah-ha! And so He also knew how the woman would respond, didn’t He? He knew she would not slither away hurt and defeated, heartbroken and insulted. That would have been my first reaction, which is why I was having such difficulty with this passage.
No, Jesus knew this lady had tenacious faith and would parry back that even the children’s pet puppies (which is what the Greek translation means) are happy to lap up the crumbs under the table. Why? Because they are confident their Master will make sure they are fed and cared for in good time and they want to hang out near Him and the kids.
It was His intention all along to heal the faithful woman’s daughter. So who was the lesson for, since Jesus’ healings always come with a message? First, it was for the disciples. If we start at the beginning, we see Jesus has just talked about inward cleanliness being more important than the outward Hebrew tradition of not associating with people who were “unclean”, i.e. Gentiles. And yet, here they respond to this woman asking Jesus if He wants them to hush her away. I even see a twinkle in Jesus’ eye, just for the woman, telling her, “Stay with me on this as we teach these guys a thing or two about My power and love.”
The second person who needs the lesson? The one who is writing this and is asking for an explanation. Answer – That same dog that must be lowly enough to receive crumbs can hop up confidently in his Master’s lap, enjoy a good loving scratch behind the ears and feel the warmth of His presence. Lord, help me to be that dog.
Question: What Is Our Lord’s lesson for you today? Have you asked Him?
About the Author Julie Cosgrove