Daily Delight

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In Matthew 15, we read a story regarding the faith of a Canaanite woman. She approaches Jesus and begs Him to heal her demon oppressed daughter. In response to her pleas, Jesus tells her, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.

Her words are significant, given Matthew’s description of her as a Canaanite. She is well aware of the rivalry between the Jews and the Canaanites. However, her words demonstrate her belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

At first, Jesus was silent, probably to see if she would persevere, and she did. She followed Him down the street, continuing her cries for help.

The woman kneels in desperation before Jesus and begs, “Lord, help me.” Jesus pushes her a little further, reminding her of the historic distinction between the cursed Canaanites and the blessed Israelites, implying that the Jews are the “children” and the Gentiles are the “dogs.” It is the children who get fed first.

The woman’s answer is amazing: even the “dogs” eat the crumbs that the children drop. Jesus honors the faith of this Canaanite woman that seeks mercy. She had no resentment, no anger about her situation or even the way Jesus responded to her. Because she did not take offense, Christ rewarded her faith in Him and healed her daughter.

Up until this point, I've always interpreted Jesus' response to be insulting and demeaning, making it more than difficult for me to connect those attributes to Jesus. But now I see the bigger picture.

Recently, I was at work when our last customer of the night began to make a scene. He was yelling at our cashier because we don't accept checks. To make peace with him, our manager made an exception. The man lingered in our store an hour after close to wait for a cab. I approached him and asked if there was anything I could do to help. I found out his cab driver went to the wrong store and his anger level skyrocketed, only to release it on me.

And you know what? I let him. 

I learned that he was an ex-veteran living on disability, and he had been treated like garbage. I let him release all of his bitterness, pain and hurt on me as I listened. I could have stopped it all and let my offense get the best of me, breaking off any bridge I was building with him. However, I knew that if I did, I would not have been able to show him the love of Christ.

The Canaanite woman understood not to be offended. She responded to Jesus and said "Yes it is, Lord. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus marveled at her faith and her daughter was healed right at that moment.

Sisters, we cannot let offense take root in our heart. It can ruin opportunities to reach people who need to know who Jesus is. It is also toxic to the body. Offense ruins relationships and causes division where we're called to have unity. 

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." -Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)

{photo: @stephspineli}

About the Author

Tatiana Jaeger

Tatiana is a 23-year-old idealist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a lover of all things creative, and would happily spend the rest of her days learning more about the heart of the Father through what he has revealed to us in creation. She loves deep conversations and connecting with people in a real and authentic way, and her heart is to break through the surface level to find the gold in people. You can usually find her outside on a sunny day, going on long hikes in nature, or taking a drive around the city while singing along to her favorite album of the week on repeat.


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