Unlimited: Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman
Dec 24, 2020 508
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone (Mark 7:24–30, NIV).
Jesus travelled toward the coast, where the people aren’t Jewish at all. The people who live here come from various Gentile backgrounds. It is interesting to see the way they received Jesus.
The woman in this passage wasn’t Jewish. She was clearly a Gentile. And the way that Jesus treated this woman may seem strange to us. Why didn’t he simply heal her daughter right away? It’s because Jesus wanted to teach his own disciples an important lesson about his love and mercy.
The disciples, like all Jews, believed that the blessings of God were principally for them, and not to be shared with Gentiles. Jesus wanted to teach them otherwise.
But first, in what he said to the woman, he mirrored the thoughts of the disciples. When Jesus said that it wasn’t right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs, the disciples would have nodded and agreed.
But this woman didn’t give up. She recognised her unworthiness and pleaded for Christ’s mercy. And so, Jesus granted her the desire of her heart and healed her daughter.
He wanted the disciples to see that this woman’s faith was greater than that of their own fellow-Jews. He also wanted to teach them that the blessings and mercy of God was for all.
Many people see Christian churches as being judgmental and exclusive, and that’s one reason why there are many people who once used to go to church, don’t go any more. But it shouldn’t be like that.
Jesus shows that his grace breaks through all human barriers.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: Prayerfully think about your own attitudes to others. How do you judge others? Where are the barriers that you have set up against others in your life?