Friday, October 7, 2016

31 Days of Healing:The Syrophoenician's Daughter

 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 was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she 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)

Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.-Matthew 15:21-28

I have included both of the accounts of this story, one from Matthew, and one from Mark, because they have different details, both important.
The first thing to notice about this passage of scripture is that Tyre and Sidon seems out of the way, at least to me.  I believe He is being led by the Spirit of God, so He is not just randomly deciding where to go.  It often seems like He travels to specifically meet specific people.
When looking at this passage, I think we need to keep in mind the character of God and what we already know about Jesus.  He was often moved with compassion.  We know He loved the people because He tells us later on. The Bible also says God is love.
So, He travels to Tyre and Sidon which is north of Galilee and on the coast.  The Bible says “He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.” Why would He want no one to know it?  The Bible doesn’t say, so we can only assume.  Maybe He wanted to rest.  Maybe He was just waiting on her.
A woman comes and finds him.  The Bible says her daughter has an unclean spirit. Some translations say an evil spirit.  The Bible also says her daughter is young.  Some translations say little.
And she hears about Jesus.  It sounds like the story of thewoman with the issue of blood.  She heard about Jesus too. 
When she comes to Jesus she falls at his feet and calls him “Lord.” Only people who were expressing faith in Him called Him Lord.  She keeps asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  It seems as though she had to ask Him more than once. Matthew’s Gospel says He doesn’t answer her.  Why would he do that?
This is an interesting interaction between Jesus and another person that we haven’t really seen before.  We have to remember who Jesus is, what His purpose was, and what God is like when reading this passage. 
He tells her it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to little dogs.  And she says back to Him,
And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”
Then Jesus commends her for her great faith, and tells her the demon has left her daughter.  She is only one of two people that it is recorded as having “great faith.”  What caused her to have “great faith?” Well, I believe it was because she knew even a crumb could save her. God’s mercy and love and power are so grand that it doesn’t require a big grandiose show.  It just requires a belief from someone to tap into that power and receive all that He has for us.
We also know that Jesus Himself is called the Bread of Life.  He is the Manna from Heaven. During the Lord’s Supper, He takes bread and breaks it and says it is His body.  His body was broken for us so we could have life and healing is a part of that life.  And it only takes a crumb.


To read more in the series go here:

 *I have written about this woman before as part of a series called Women in the Life of Jesus.  If you would like read that post, go here.

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