“Jesus said to the woman, ‘I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.’ But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, ‘Lord, help me!’” Matthew 15:24-25
A few weeks ago a pastor in my town brought this passage to my attention. It is the story of Jesus leaving Galilee and going north into Tyre and Sidon, which was Gentile territory. A woman who lived there came to Him and pleaded for Jesus to heal her daughter, who was tormented by a demon. As a response to this request, Jesus remained silent.
Today, silence is a most hated concept. With iPods and the internet and radio and television blaring everywhere we go, we’ve learned to distrust the sound of silence. Silence is wrong. Silence means something is broke. Silence makes us wonder if we’re still alive if all we hear is our own breathing.
Add to that silence the fact the people hanging out with Jesus urge Him to send her away and you have an emotional breakdown in the making. But she doesn’t go away. She just stands there and waits for the Son of David to answer her request. And when Jesus does speak, it is not as the meek and mild Jesus we sing about in church.
“I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel,” He says. Great. Not only is Jesus treating her with silence, now He says he wasn’t sent for her. Apparently, there are people whose needs are greater or better or more deserving than a mother with a child possessed by a demon.
At this point in the story, I’d be ready to tell the Son of David what He can do with His Messiah complex. I mean, if God is going to be that callused as to tell me that others are more deserving of His mercy and grace, then it’s time to find another god.
But what this woman does next just astounds me. Continue Reading