23 – Hope for Everyone
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Syrophoenician by birth: Coming from Phoenicia and therefore not a Jew
Have you ever had to beg anyone to help you?
Why do you think that Jesus seems so hard in his treatment of the woman?
This story is difficult to understand, and therefore it is particularly important that we are aware of the context. It was to the Jews that Jesus came. These were the people that God had decided would be in a special relationship with him. Having said that, the Old Testament also states clearly that the whole world would be blessed through the Jews. When Jesus came into the world, he came as King of the Jews. Part of God’s plan was that his own people would reject him, and through the sacrifice which he offered on the cross there would be freedom for anyone to come into a relationship with God.
During the period when Jesus was doing his work amongst the Jews, a woman from another land came to him to ask him to help her daughter. Jesus’ response was that the time had not come yet, but, rather the good news had to be offered firstly to the Jews. To explain this, he uses the illustration of taking food from the plate of the family’s children in order to feed the dog.
The faith of the woman is striking. Rather than becoming disheartened or getting cross, she accepts that she deserves nothing, and uses the same illustration to her advantage. The dog is still fed, either by the children themselves or with the left-over food. She clearly believes that helping her daughter would be a small a thing to Jesus, like crumbs falling from the table.
Once again, we see that it is someone’s faith that is important, not which country they come from. The good news for us today is that an invitation is extended to everyone from every nation to come to Jesus, to be adopted as a child of God, and to be satisfied.
Do you think that God tests your faith sometimes?
What lessons can we learn from the woman’s attitude?
that you may be able to live in a way that shows you are a child of God, and thank him that he receives anyone who comes to him in faith.