Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
A Gentile woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter. At first Jesus ignored her, and then he rebuffed her. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,” he said. When the woman persisted, Jesus answered her, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (Matthew 15:21-28).
That sounds rude to me.
What would you have done?
I think I would have walked away in a huff saying to myself, “He’s no better than the rest of the Jews.”
Why did Jesus treat her that way? I’ve often wondered. It’s so unlike him!
We must take these verses in context. What had Jesus been speaking about? He had been teaching what makes a person clean or unclean in God’s eyes. The Jews considered all Gentiles unclean and called them “dogs” because they didn’t observe the Jewish rituals of cleanliness.
But Jesus wanted to show them that being clean before God is much more about what’s on the inside. “Out of the heart come evil thoughts that lead to evil acts. These are what makes a person unclean,” Jesus said. (Matthew 15:16-20).
How do we know what’s in a person’s heart? We don’t know until the heart spills over, like a cup that’s being bumped spills over with its contents.
Jesus knew what was in the woman’s heart. He knew that when he bumped her—as his harsh words would do–out of her heart would flow faith and good humor. She became the perfect object lesson to what Jesus had just been talking about.
God wants reality, not ritual.
What comes out of our mouths when we are bumped? What a testimony it is when, instead of anger, out come words of faith and blessing.
Dear Jesus, fill my heart with your truth and love, so that when life bumps me I will spill over with your grace.
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