Devotional

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:8-9.

In Matthew 7, Jesus was traveling to the territory of Tyre. He was trying to be incognito. Jesus had been spending all of his time ministering in Jewish provinces, and that ministry was drawing overwhelming crowds, and He was exhausted. So Jesus left the Jewish provinces and went into Gentile territory, Tyre, in order to get some rest.

But it doesn’t work. A woman hears of His arrival and makes her way boldly to Jesus. She enters the house without an invitation, falls down and begins begging Jesus to exorcise a demon from her daughter. She’s pleading with Jesus—she won’t take no for an answer. She is also expressing a certain amount of faith that Jesus has the power to cast out demons.  But Jesus replies to this faith with a glass of cold water: “…First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” (Mark 7:27)

He basically called her a dog. She could have been insulted and stormed away. But she was not deterred at all. She immediately came back with: “…That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” First, notice that she addresses Him as “Lord.” She gets His parable and then she goes on to make her own point. Even though the dogs eat later, sometimes the children drop crumbs and thus the dogs eat at the same time as the children.

Her statement demonstrates her bold and persistent faith. She did not allow Jesus’ “answer” to stop her. Rather, she continued to make the case for her daughter. In response to her humility and faith, Jesus heals her daughter. Mark 7:30 confirms the miracle: “ … when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.” (Mark 7:29-30)

This is an interesting story. God is capable of making the impossible possible.  But our fears and doubts sometimes get in the way. We can stop looking at our circumstances through a lens of fear if we have the faith in God to trust Him no matter how bleak the picture looks.  The Greek woman believed that Jesus could change her circumstances. Faith overcame her fears. Faith is the alternative to interpreting our lives and life events through the lens of fear.  Instead, we have Someone in whom we can place our trust and to whom we can submit our fears and anxieties. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways does this woman demonstrate humility? Faith?
  2. In what specific ways can you grow in and exercise faith, humility, and persistence this week?