Dogs at the Table
Daily Reading: (Matthew 15:25-28):
“The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
In this text Jesus is telling this woman to stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Because if you keep pretending to be someone else you won’t be able to receive the help you need most.
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.”Jesus did not answer a word (Matthew 15:22-23).
Many people don’t understand why Jesus would ignore this woman who was in great need. Jesus’ response was purposeful and powerful and it produced the faith she needed to receive the salvation she sought.
So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
The Law says in Deuteronomy 7:2-3: “And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.”
So the disciples response is Law based and should come as no surprise but in the end, she is in the presence of grace and the voice of grace will deal completely differently with this Canaanite woman in need of help.
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment (Matthew 15:24-28).
The takeaway of the story of the Canaanite woman is for us to come as we are to the Lord with our need. Lean on His unfailing and unconditional love for you. You don’t have to pretend to be more than you are to receive the blessing you need from God. And you don’t have to pretend to be someone else to appear more deserving to receive from God. It is not the cleverness of our prayers or the accomplishments that we have made that gives us an audience with God. Simply come to God in all honesty with your need. Lean into Jesus to receive His unconditional love for you, come boldly because Jesus is our High Priest, and be ready to receive grace in our time of need.
A Canaanite woman who is desperately seeking healing for her demon-possessed daughter came to Jesus (see Matthew 15:22–28) the first part is great. The problem is in how she came to Jesus, this is where the train comes off the tracks. Knowing that He healed and did miracles among the Jews, she pretended to be a Jew, calling out, “O Lord, Son of David!” Only the Jews addressed Jesus as the “Son of David.”Yet this Canaanite woman used that term to appear as though she was also a Jew. She believed Jesus would refuse to heal her daughter because they were not Jews.
“Jesus did not answer her.” The purpose for His silence was to lead her to drop her pretense and cry out, “Lord, help me” (Matthew 15:23,25)! Only when her pretenses had melted away did she see the grace of God extended to her, that He is willing and wanting to help and heal her Canaanite daughter. Jesus is so good that what He actually did here is that He made a way for her to receive her miracle even though it was not yet time for the Gentiles to receive His blessings.
We have a cultural difference that Jesus capitalizes on, to the Jews at this time- dogs were dirty, unpleasant, beasts. The woman immersed in Greek culture gave her an appreciation of the positive qualities of dogs. Only a Gentile, perhaps only a Greek influenced one, could have spoken the memorable words about dogs eating the scraps under the table, for no Jew would have allowed dogs to be there. So, Jesus uses her own culture as an aid to lead her to the place to receive salvation for her daughter (Matthew 15:26-27).
This woman’s faith is incredible, because she sees something here, she sees grace. Look at the transformation, “even if I am a puppy and not a Jew, I am close enough to receive from the Master.” I know if I get close enough to Jesus, I could receive healing for my daughter because even puppies get to eat what falls from their masters’ table. When the Canaanite woman took her place by dropping the title “Son of David” and just leaned on Jesus’ compassion for her, her daughter was healed.
Come as you are to God your Father and lean on His grace. If He has delivered Jesus up for us, “how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Jesus does not want anyone to come to Him in falseness, pretending to be something they are not. He wants us to come as we are, in whatever our condition is. Only when we are honest with ourselves, He can come rescue us for “when we are weak, He is strong”.