On a recent Sunday, my pastor spoke on Matthew 15:21-28. It’s an interesting passage.
The interchange between Jesus and a Canaanite momma imploring Him to heal her daughter is quite challenging.
Jesus doesn’t respond how we would expect. He seems a bit rude. (I can’t believe I just wrote that Jesus appeared rude. That seems exceedingly cheeky on my part.)
Although I have to admit not necessarily understanding Jesus’ way in dealing with this Mom, I trust that He knew what He was doing. I trust that He had a plan to bring her and even His disciples to a deeper understanding of Him and themselves.
My pastor said, “Jesus intentionally reaches out to us in ways we don’t like or understand in order to show us what we really need.”
Jesus is always intentional in His interaction with us. Always was always will be. All that the Lord allows to happen in our lives is purposeful… and God will use it all for good.
What got my attention in this passage wasn’t necessarily Jesus’ response, but the momma’s response to Jesus.
She was desperate and willing to do anything to get her daughter healed. I think I’d be the same way. Persistent and insistent.
At first Jesus doesn’t answer her pleading. In fact, His first words are not directed to her. He responds to the disciples when they ask him to send her away because she’s annoying them.
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v. 24)
I wonder if that wasn’t for the disciples in a way. Maybe to challenge them to see her as a person in need rather than just a Canaanite. I don’t know…my pastor didn’t mention that. 🙂
Her response is what gets me though.
But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” (v. 25)
She is undeterred. She isn’t bitter or angry at Jesus’ words. She knows that He is the source of her daughter’s healing. Maybe what Jesus wants her to grasp is that He is also the source of her healing…her spiritual healing.
And He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (v. 26)
Again, she doesn’t take offense. I think at this point I might have. But not her, she is single-minded. Being desperate definitely gives clarity of what’s important and what isn’t.
She knows the source of her help.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I found this to be true for myself. When my husband announced his plans to leave, I was desperate to save my marriage. The word desperate doesn’t even seem to capture the way I felt. I couldn’t imagine losing my husband and the father of my children. It just couldn’t happen!
I had clarity. I knew it was all a God-sized task. And I trusted that God was going to take care of things.
And even though I kept expecting God to answer one way, He very clearly answered another way…over and over and over again.
His answers shocked me at times, BUT He didn’t leave me. He was there all the time. And I knew, I knew, I could trust Him. I knew that He was the only source of hope I had…even as I watched my marriage end.
I think that Canaanite momma got it. She got that Jesus was the answer…the only hope she had.
After Jesus speaks to her, she answers, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Wow! She is solid. She definitely gets it!
She gets that even a crumb from the Lord’s table is enough.
It reminds me of the woman who knew if she only grabbed hold of a tassel on Jesus’ robe she’d be healed. (Matthew 9:18-26) And the Centurion who knew Jesus only had to speak and his servant would be healed. (Matthew 8:5-13)
Just a touch…just a word…just crumb…just Jesus!
They each knew His power to be great and trusted that even the smallest bit of it would provide what they needed.
So I’m thinking about how I relate to my Lord. And I’m disappointed in myself.
I keep living under the table when I’ve been invited to the feast.
I don’t have to settle for a crumb – I have it all.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:3
…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God…the same power that created everything…the same power that God uses to fulfill his good and perfect will…is the same power that is at work in my life…in me!
That blows my mind.
Which begs the question why I don’t act like I have the power of God working in my life? Why do I feel so defeated at times?
This weekend I had such a feeling of imminent failure.
It’s not unusual for me. There are moments when it seems that everything is going to be ruined that isn’t already ruined.
How is that living for God’s glory? How is that living with the joy of the Lord?
God says I can confidently approach His throne of grace knowing He can and will handle my problems. I know that I can and I know that He wants me to, and yet I choose the struggle instead of His strength.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Unlike the Canaanite woman I don’t have to think I must settle for crumbs…I get to partake of the full feast!
The full feast of God’s love, mercy, peace, strength, and grace.
No crumbs of grace for this girl! Even though a crumb is enough when it comes to Jesus…
He offers me so much more!
So let’s sit at the table and enjoy the bounty of God!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19