In the Sunday message, Pastor Brad suggested that our prayer in anticipation of God’s revival is nothing less than us begging God to act. When is the last time you begged God to act in your life or in this world? Notice how Jesus responds to a woman who is begging him for help.
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22 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.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
A lot of us, on first reading this passage, get caught up in the idea that Jesus seems to be insulting the woman. But this is missing the point. He is not name-calling, but referencing a Jewish sentiment – common at the time – that non-Jews (Gentiles) are less-than. Jesus is here being approached by a person who can be considered “the least of these.”
Which makes two things stand out: First, she is begging. She pleads for Jesus’ help and casts herself on his mercy, appealing to his grace. Second, Jesus does something extraordinary by helping her. His fellow Jews would consider him reckless to take his attention away from Israel, thereby violating his mission, tantamount to taking food from one’s children and giving it to the pets. After all, the Jews thought of the Gentiles as practically animals. Yet Jesus sees this woman not as an animal, but as a beloved child of God with great faith.
The story reminds us that none of us qualify for the bread that Jesus can give. We cannot earn it, we do not deserve it. We can only beg for it. And in his mercy, he gives it to us anyway!
O Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! Have mercy on the people I love. Forgive our sin, heal our brokenness, and feed us again with the bread that only you can give. I pray in your name, Jesus. Amen.