Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
“My child is severely oppressed.” Maybe we need to put this into a more current paradigm. My child is sick, discouraged, tormented, disoriented. You name it, the Scripture knows about the ways we can suffer. Perhaps the Canaanite woman’s daughter is under attack by spiritual forces. Perhaps the woman is misdiagnosing it. In the end, it doesn’t matter very much. The girl is suffering. Her mother is concerned for her well being. She is in fear that the girl’s life may be ended in one way or another. My child is in trouble. What will I do?
The answer of the disciples and then of Jesus is striking. “Go away, you Canaanite. We were only sent to heal the people of Israel.” While we can’t know what the actual nonverbal communication might have been, I’m going to suggest just one possibility. The disciples had told the woman to get lost. Jesus heard them doing that. He also knew, as did the woman, that she had come to see him, not his disciples. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus looked the woman in the eye, smiled a little, and told her again what the disciples had said. Maybe he winked at her. We don’t know. But what if she thought he was playing along with her against the idea of the disciples? There would be every reason for her to keep asking. There would be every reason for her to suggest that she should be cared for like the pet who is present at the master’s table. It is altogether possible that she is making a gentle dig at the disciples.
In the end, what we do know is that Jesus healed the woman’s daughter. Her prayer was heard and answered. She didn’t get lost, because God’s mercy was yet to be poured out on her and her family. She was in just the right place of healing.
Jesus shows himself to be the mighty God who heals all nations, not just those who are biologically related to Jacob, named Israel. Jesus cares for the outsiders, the Canaanites, those who have been separated from God’s promise by their own or their nations’ disobedience. Jesus loves and heals those who come to Him in faith. Even the crumbs from his table are enough to sustain all the nations of the world. He is that kind of master.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.