Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Offenses of Jesus: The Faith of a Gentile Woman

Usually, the offenses of Jesus make me cringe.  This is one that inspires me. It is found in Matthew 15:21-28.  Jesus leaves the offended Pharisees and travels to the north, to the region on Tyre and Sidon.  A gentile woman comes to Jesus, pleading for Him to deliver her daughter who was possessed by a demon.

Don't you hate it when you are talking to someone and they ignore you?  That's what Jesus did.  (Offense #1)  He didn't say a word - no reply to her pleading.  Evidently that didn't put her off.  She keeps begging.  So much so that the disciples ask Jesus to send her away, "She is bother us with all her begging."  So Jesus speaks to her.  "I was sent only to help God's lost sheep, the people of Israel." (Offense #2)  She is not deterred.  Her response?  She came and worshiped Him, and pleaded again, "Lord, help me!"

Jesus comes back with this, "It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs."  (Offense #3) Ouch!  Basically, Jesus is calling this woman a dog, unworthy of His attention.  But this woman is amazing.  Her love for her daughter and her belief that Jesus is the answer gives her the chutzpah to push on. She ignores His insult and replies, "That's true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master's table."  Wow.  Such boldness.  She passes the test.  Remember, Jesus only offends the mind to reveal the heart. Her heart for her daughter and her faith in Jesus is revealed  ~ and impresses Jesus.  Now Jesus can drop the offenses.  His tone changes completely.  "Dear woman,"  Jesus says to her, "your faith is great.  Your request is granted."  Finally, the intended result.  His offense of the woman revealed a heart of faith.  Her daughter was instantly healed.  If there was any doubt that our persistence and faith can move the heart of God, here it is.  Jesus stated that His purpose was to bring salvation to the Jews.  But her bold faith pleased Jesus so much, He extended His grace to her, even before the dispensation to any other Gentile.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. 
Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists 
and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NLT

In our day, the salvation and grace of Jesus is fully available to everyone.  But do I persist in prayer, using bold faith to lay hold of what I need from Jesus?  Does my faith please God, enough to move Him?  Do I believe it can?

1 comment:

  1. This moved me today! Thank you for your faithfulness to Jesus my friend. You inspire me!