by Tad Lindley
The gathering of people was almost entirely Jewish. They were pressing in to listen to the teaching of Jesus. A woman joined the crowd. She was distressed. She called out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, son of David! My daughter is severely demon possessed.” (Matthew 15:22) Oddly, the Lord completely ignored her.
She then went to the disciples and began to ask them for help. The disciples got tired of her and soon went to Jesus and asked him to get rid of her. Jesus told his disciples that his purpose in that place was really only to help the Jews. No sooner had Jesus said that, then she showed up again. She literally began to worship Jesus, and said, “Lord, help me.” (15:25)
Jesus calls the woman a dog
At this point Jesus finally speaks to her, but it isn’t pretty, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” In other words Jesus was telling her, I have blessings to hand out, but at this point they are really for the Jewish people (the children). It wouldn’t be right to take a blessing meant for a Jewish person and waste it on a dog (a Gentile) like you.
Put yourself in her sandals for a moment. If many of us had been the woman in this scripture it would have played out very differently. We might have said, “Excuse me, sir, did you just call me a dog?”, or, “Who you calling dog?” The more childish might have said to Jesus, “I know you are, but what am I?” Still others might have clenched their fists and started to throw down on Jesus.
What she heard
You see, most of us who read this and place ourselves into the situation get caught up on the insult that Jesus gave. The lady with the demon possessed daughter heard something else. When Jesus said to her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs,” she didn’t get hung up on the insult, she got hung up on the fact that there were miracles being handed out. Her response reveals her thoughts, “You mean there’s bread available, and I can have some?”
The response that changed Jesus’ mind
Instead of confronting the Lord over his insult, she completely ignores it. Her response stopped Jesus right in his tracks, “Yes Lord, even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.”
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:27-28 NKJV)
Are you staring a miracle right in the face
I wonder how many times we have focused on the insult and ignored the possibility. We have stood face to face with the answer to a prayer, with a miracle, and instead we retreat back into our victim-hood. Watch one of us start our day with prayer and Bible reading. Everything goes well until someone is a little rude to us. Then our joy goes straight out the window; we blow up, melt down, or start sucking our thumb.
You may need a real miracle in your life. Perhaps you have prayed for your husband or your wife for many years, and even as you read this he is passed out drunk on the couch, or she is textually harassing you demanding to know where you are every five minutes of the day. They might even call you a dog. It is so easy to get focused on the fact that your prayer hasn’t been answered and that it seems as hopeless as ever, but instead, why don’t you look straight into your impossible situation and say, “Excuse me Jesus, did you say something about bread?”
The preceding thought is taken from a sermon preached by Reverend Stan Gleason. The message, Help Me, can be found in its entirety at the following website http://bartlettproductions.podbean.com/?s=help+me
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.