27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
~ Matthew 15:27
This was a famous saying uttered by the mother of a severely demon-possessed girl to Jesus.
When you read the heart-rendering cries of the mother, you wonder how is it that Jesus does not seem to care initially.
And sometimes we forget what the term Canaanite means.
Being a woman of Canaan means that she belonged to a race that was widely condemned and despised by the Jewish race. The Jews would not associate with such people, much less speak to them.
So when this Canaanite woman was ignored by Jesus, it did seemed “right”.
After all… why should the Saviour of the Jews help a Gentile?
The disciples took the initial silence of Jesus to be just that …. and asked for permission to chase the woman away.
But the woman’s needs were too great. He daughter was severely suffering from demon possession and nothing would stop this mother from getting what she came for.
“Lord help me!” she cried out once again.
It was then Jesus uttered words that if you heard this for the first time, you would begin to wonder about this Messiah.
How can a Saviour be so rude?!
This poor woman is already in tears and heart broken and yet you are calling her a dog now! Talk about rubbing salt onto wounds.
But this woman was not chastened.
Instead she shrugged off the silence, rejection and ridicule and replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”.
Now I am not sure about you but I would have never ever thought of that answer.
And it goes to show that my faith was and is still not at the same level of this woman.
When you look at this incident, there was scarcely any hope for her. Three times Jesus turned her away. The first was when He remained silent despite her pleas. Then He only answers after the disciples wanted to send her way. And when the woman’s cries got more desperate, Jesus made a statement that was surely the signal for the disciples to now take her away.
But the final response of the woman changed everything!
Jesus gave her what she pleaded for, and her daughter was healed.
What does it teach us today?
It teaches us a lot about how our faith can be tested and how we ought to put our faith in action.
Nothing in the Canaanite woman’s situation gave any hope. The traditions and history of her people. The looks of the Jews.
Just see how this woman behaved when she came to the end of her tether.
Despite the silence and seemingly rude replies of Jesus, she continued begging for help.
Because she knew who Jesus is. That He was one who helped Gentiles – like the Syrian widow and her son (1 Kings 17:7-24) and Namaan the leprous general (2 Kings 5:1-19). He was the one who had also been merciful to all those who came to Him in their sickness and demon possession.
The lesson this woman teaches us is simple.
God may test us in ways we find strange and unpredictable.
But He will not turn away from His promises to help those who call on Him in their time of need.
And that’s what we must do even when our prayers do not seem to be heard.
The Lord wants us to Ask, Seek and Knock.