Monday, August 08, 2011

Matthew 15:21–28

Matthew 15:21–28 (ESV): The Faith of a Canaanite Woman


This passage continues from the previous one. Jesus moves on to a new location, and is approached by a Canaanite woman who has a demon-posessed daughter, and wishes Jesus to heal her. However, he doesn’t answer her.

She starts “crying out after” the disciples (verse 23 (ESV)), so they come to Jesus and beg him to heal her daughter. But Jesus tells them that he was only sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (verse 24 (ESV)).

So the woman approaches Jesus one last time:

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (verses 25–28 (ESV))


This passage probably seems strange to a lot of modern-day Christians. 2,000 years after Jesus left the planet we’re by now well acquainted with the fact that Jesus came to save the whole world, not just the Jews. What we sometimes forget, however, is that Jesus’ original message was preached primarily—in fact, almost exclusively—to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. There are a few instances where non-Israelites come to Jesus for help and he gives it to them because of their amazing amount of faith, but I think those passages have probably lost their impact to modern-day Christians, since we’re now used to the fact that… well, most Christians in the world today are Gentiles, not Jews.

Just in case it’s not clear to some readers—as it was originally unclear to me, before my pastor explained it to me—what is happening in this passage is this: This woman comes to Jesus to ask him to heal her daughter. Jesus, however, initially refuses because she is not a Jew and he was sent to minister to the Jews (“It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”). She eventually convinces him that even though she’s not a Jew she still has great faith in him, so he tells her so, and heals her.

The ESV Study Bible points out that … Well, I’ll just quote it:

Jews frequently insulted Gentiles by calling them dogs, which in ancient Palestine were wild, homeless scavengers. But the form Jesus uses here (Gk. kynarion, “little dog”) suggests a more affectionate term for domestic pets. Jesus is not insulting the woman but testing her faith.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog and I wanted to offer you something:

Matthew 17:15
Strong Numbers G4583
to be moon struck, that is, crazy: - be lunatic.

A word thought to have derived from
Strong Number G4582
From σέλας selas (brilliancy; probably akin to the alternate of G138, through the idea of attractiveness); the moon: - moon.

Very interesting commentary sir, in fact I just had to comment myself! That man was telling Jesus what he thought was wrong with his son. He didn't know what it could be that was afflicting his son. Luke 9:39 gives the same account in greater detail. In Matthew 4:24, the ascribe lunacy and demon-possession as two different things. Just thought I'd throw those two points in for consideration.

Where I'm from, the Holy Spirit revealed that mountains are the enormous obstacles that we encounter in our walk with Christ. I'm sure God could move a mountain if we declared it with faith. He could do it but I doubt He wants to. Those mountains are the obstacles we have to climb, the valleys are the low points and the summits are the peaks of our daily walk with Christ.

As far as lunacy is concerned, it is safe to say that I've suffered my fair share of battles with the enemy where he's tried to interfere with my thinking and judgement. Depending on your family, history, upbringing, and the sins you've committed, you could come to Christ being knee deep in serious spiritual problems. Generational curses are something real and evident throughout the bible, the family could have been given to witchcraft, demon worship, or idol worship (all common practices at the time). The upbringing can further the child into worse situations. All these things could have added up to the boy suffering from demon possession.

I honestly could keep writing for hours as talking and debating the bible has to be my top favorite past time haha! God bless you dude and good posting! Check my blog out when you get an opportunity!