Weren’t Jesus’ remarks mean? Why didn’t he heal her daughter immediately? Jesus tested the woman with a test he knew she would pass. Jesus treated the people he healed as individuals, and dealt with each person differently based on their level of faith. Some people’s requests were granted when they asked (Mt 8:2-3); some were healed without asking for it (Mk 5:1-13, 25-29); some were asked if they believed Jesus could heal them before they were healed (Mt 9:27-30). Jesus may have done this to teach the woman and the disciples: the woman learned that she could always trust in God’s love and mercy, even when her requests were not immediately answered (something Jesus taught the disciples in Lk 18:1-8), and the disciples learned that God’s salvation and mercy were extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

 

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+faith+of+a+canaanite+woman&qpvt=images+faith+of+a+canaanite+woman&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=2F3A95C9074BFCACE0ACC6F19910ED8EB038178B&selectedIndex=18

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http://www.rationalchristianity.net/canaanite_woman.html

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https://bible.org/seriespage/faith-canaanite-woman-matthew-1521-28

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The basic theme of the passage is that Christ went into Gentile territory and did this miracle for a Gentile woman who had greater faith than the Jews who were rejecting and challenging Jesus’ claims.

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It teaches us about the grace of our Lord,

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about faith of people who are in need,

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and about the coming advance of the kingdom to the Gentiles who will be sent into all the world.

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They would know that it was the Lord’s desire that all come to salvation.

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So the conversation has to be understood in its historical setting to capture fully what Jesus is doing here.

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He is not playing games with the woman–He did not go all the way to her region to avoid her!

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But the crisis between Jesus and the Jews was soon to intensify, and Jesus is making it clear that the grace of God will be given to all who believe, even though His mission called for Him to present Himself to Israel as the Son of David.

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It was as if He was saying to the disciples and to her, “You do know I am the Jewish Messiah don’t you?”

It is amazing how the Church over the centuries has tried to conceal that point, presenting Jesus as non-Jewish in paintings and art, and even as Aryan in theological writings (as amazing as that may seem). The Church has done such an effective job in this that many Jewish people today have to be reminded that Jesus is their Messiah, a Jew (the Church has adopted a “triumphalist” or “replacement” attitude toward the Jews which has not been a healthy or correct approach). Here, the disciples wanted Jesus to satisfy her need; and Jesus wanted to heal her daughter (He came all the way to her region) but He wanted her to express her faith in spite of whatever racial tensions there were. Ad since she knew that He was the Lord, the Messiah, and asked for mercy, He healed her daughter. Jesus’ ministry may have focused on Israel first (as Paul’s did, “to the Jew first”), but He extended mercy to all who would believe in Him.

This passage should have become instructive for the disciples, but they still had to meet and decide if the Gospel had in truth gone to the Gentiles, and if so what laws should Gentiles come under (Acts 15). But there was no denying that Jesus went to the Gentiles and extended His grace.

And so the instruction is for us as well, that we are to take the message of grace to the world, to whoever is seeking mercy and will believe. If there is resistance and refusal, we may continue to pray for them (as Jesus prayed for Jerusalem), but we turn to people who want it, whom the Spirit of God has prepared to receive the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Unfortunately, the Church spends the greatest amount of time, money and energy continuing its work at home, when the greatest responses to the Gospel today are in the third world. Our cities have churches and ministries on almost every corner; but in other countries there are people seeking God’s grace and the need is not being met.

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