MUSINGS – October 19, 2018
And rising up, he went from there to the area of Tyre and Sidon. And entering into a house, he intended no one to know about it, but he was not able to remain hidden. For a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit, as soon as she heard about him, entered and fell prostrate at his feet. For the woman was a Gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician. And she petitioned him, so that he would cast the demon from her daughter. And he said to her: “First allow the sons to have their fill. For it is not good to take away the bread of the sons and throw it to the dogs.” But she responded by saying to him: “Certainly, Lord. Yet the young dogs also eat, under the table, from the crumbs of the children.” And he said to her, “Because of this saying, go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
I’ll admit that this encounter with and insulting dismissal of this Greek woman has always bothered me. It seems so … so un-Messiah-like. He who came to save everyone* from every time, shouldn’t turn away anyone who earnestly seeks him. Previously he had placed no restriction on whom he healed. He had saved the life of the servant of a Roman soldier**, forgave the Samaritan woman at the well,*** and crossed the sea to cast demons from a foreign man.****
This woman comes to Jesus with high expectations because of the good things she has heard about him. Indeed his fame has spread so that, evern though he intended that no one knew he was there, he was constantly sought for. He came to seek the Lord. But the lost also come seeking him.
She falls before his feet and begs for her daughter’s release from the demons who attack her. And he dismissed her with a word often used by the Jews against non Jews, “dog”. It is equivalent to a more modern term “S.O.B.” Why these hateful words from this loving man?
Take note the he didn’t not say he would not have grant her petition. He only said, “First allow the sons to have their fill.”
She wisely heard his words and responded, feed the children first but remember that the dogs must also be fed. To her credit, she did not demand to be moved to the front of the line but only asked to be heard in her turn. Because she humbled herself, her daughter was healed. He had tested her and found her faith sufficient.
There are times I take my wants and needs to the Lord and don’t immediately receive an answer. Perhaps it is because “I’m determined to have things, but I can’t get what I want. I quarrel and fight. I don’t have the things I want, because I don’t pray for them. When I pray for things, I don’t get them because I want them for the wrong reason–for my own pleasure. (personalized from James 4:2-3) And sometimes maybe I don’t receive because my faith is being tested like the woman in our scripture reading was tested.
*1 Timothy 4:10 and Acts 27:22-31
**Luke 7:1-10 Z f
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