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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. The woman . . . kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.’ Then He said to her, ‘For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.’ And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.”—Mark 7:24–30 (NKJV)
I’m pretty sure if this woman was alive today, she’d be invited to present a Ted Talk on how to get people to do what you want. However, Jesus would follow up behind her to present how to encourage strong faith. Regardless, the exchange between the two is the embodiment of God’s invitation to “come, let’s reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).
She was a remarkable woman. Granted, her station in life (not Jewish, not a man) left her at a great disadvantage, but she didn’t waver. Her daughter’s well-being was at stake, and she knew–she KNEW–Jesus could heal her.
She also knew who He was–her Lord. In Matthew’s account of the same event, she addresses Him as “Lord, Son of David” (Matthew 15:22 NKJV). This was a Gentile woman with faith! Whether she was among those who had traveled to Capernaum to see Him (see Mark 3:7–8) or His reputation preceded Him, she knew He was the Messiah. Devoutly, she fell at His feet.
Mark tells us she “kept asking” and Matthew gives us a glimpse as to why. After her initial request, there was a pregnant pause. Not a word from Jesus. Undeterred, she pressed Him. Upon that, He challenged her with this: “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”. Simply put, He explained His earthly mission was to first save the lost sheep (people) of Israel (Ezekiel 34:23–24; Micah 5:4–5; Matthew 15:24).
Without missing a beat, she agreed with Jesus (astute reasoning) but then wittingly countered His case by saying how it’s unreasonable the puppies should starve while the children are being fed. Beautiful! For this saying Jesus told her to go, her daughter had been healed. Matthew adds He commended her faith (Matthew 15:28).
What she didn’t know is Jesus would testify He had other sheep (Gentiles) beyond the current fold of God (John 10:16). It would appear with this pagan woman He let a crumb fall.
This woman’s inspiring story, this exchange between her and Jesus, holds monumental implications for us all. We see that:
(1) no one is outside the love of God;
(2) committed faith knows the power of Jesus;
(3) persevering faith moves the heart of Jesus;
(4) patient faith withstands God’s silence; and
(5) God’s silence isn’t an indication of indifference. She was truly a case for the cause of Christ: to bring all who believe into the pasture of His fold.
Pause: Consider the prayers you repeatedly bring to the Lord. Do you ever wonder why they’ve gone unanswered?
Practice: Let’s not give up or think He doesn’t care. His silence is not without cause. Let’s press on in faith knowing that nothing moves the heart of God more than our hearts for God.
Pray: Lord, You know the prayers I place before You. Beyond an answer, Lord, I am seeking to develop deeper knowledge and deeper faith. Grow that in me, Lord, and help me to wait in the process. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.