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Crumbs | Matthew 15

What do you need to respond to?

This week, we study Matthew chapter 15. Let’s dig in!

Listen along to the episode here or on your favorite podcast app.

There is a woman in the Bible that you probably don’t know.  I know that I had never heard of, or at least never paid attention to her story until a few years ago.  Do you know the Syrophoenician woman in Matthew 15?  (If any of you say absolutely, I’m going to feel a little dumb.).

Jesus and the disciples have travelled out of the Jewish area, probably seeking peace and quiet.  They come to the region of Tyre and Sidon thinking that no one would know Jesus here.  This would be in current day Lebanon, one of the oldest continually inhabited areas in the world.  The woman that approaches them is of Canaanite descent, a native of Phoenician seaboard.  She spoke Greek.  Most likely a pagan woman who had grown up worshipping many gods.  She has no connection to Jewish heritage.  But she has heard about Jesus and she needs a miracle.

The gospels say many times that Jesus came to the Jews first.  The Israelites had been set apart as God’s chosen people.  He was relying on them to hear the good news of Jesus and then pass it on to the rest of the world.  When this woman comes rushing to Jesus crying out “Lord, Son of David” it had to be a little surprising, and maybe off putting.  Jesus at first does not respond to her and the disciples want to shoo her away.  But she persists.  I’m just going to put the exchange right here:

 W: Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.

 (Jesus keeps walking not responding.  Woman continues to follow and shout.)

J: I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.

W: (kneeling) Lord, help me!

J: It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.

W: Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables.

J: Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.

(daughter healed)

 

Jesus couldn’t help but to hear her.  He couldn’t help but to act on her faith.  This is why you study the Bible this way, line by line, reading every single bit.  We get to meet this woman who knew she had no claim to any blessing, she did not deny who she was, yet she persevered, not taking no for an answer.  Hebrews 4:16 says to approach the throne of grace with confidence.  That is what this woman did.

I love what we see about Jesus here.  He wants conversation with us.  He asks hard questions because he wants us to think and figure things out.  This back and forth shows faith, to keep it up.  The woman’s response is what gets Jesus’s attention.  What do you need to respond to?  Will your reply to God move Him to act?

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