WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
Thank You, God, for always accepting me.
Read Matthew 15:21–28
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectOutsiders often struggle to make themselves heard and understood. Is this how you feel?
Relationships between people of different nationalities can be difficult. Simmering prejudice often gives way to heated exchanges and occasionally even war. And the Bible itself bears witness to plenty of international conflicts. In the Old Testament, Israel is at loggerheads with most of her neighbors, whilst in the New Testament we see a bitter animosity between Jews and Gentiles.
This story takes place in the Phoenician (and therefore Gentile) coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. On the face of it, the exchange between Jesus and the Phoenician woman follows the usual pattern of suspicion, except there are a number of clues to the contrary. Jesus doesn’t respond to her first request and only answers after his disciples tell him to ignore the woman. She persists, but his reply is not promising; his main focus is the people of Israel, not everyone else. But she keeps going until Jesus relents and praises her for her great faith. Reminiscent of the centurion story (Matt. 8:10) and the soldier at the cross (Matt. 27:54), this encounter challenges us about the kind of faith Jesus is looking for in his followers.
This faith is for you (Eph. 2:8) and for every nationality and group. How can you share the Gospel with someone who is different from you?
Ask the Lord to give you a heart for all nations and peoples. Pray especially for those who have settled in your hometown or city.