Daily Devotion – August 17, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Matthew 15: 21-28

15:21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
15:22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.”
15:23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”
15:24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
15:25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
15:26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
15:27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

I have to say that this encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman has a double-edged effect on me. Jesus seems to ignore her, to dismiss her, and to call her a dog. This is not the meek and gentle Jesus that my Sunday School teachers in the 50s told me about. He seems mean.  He really makes this woman work for her miracle.  But she is magnificent. There is no doubt in her that Jesus is Lord. No doubt. So she is bold to make whatever sacrifice is required for her daughter to benefit from his healing. She is marvelously strong, and her faith is as strong as she is. Jesus is moved by this strength. She has to believe harder than his own disciples do in order for her pleas to be heard. And she DOES.

Most of the time I think my faith is of the common, ordinary variety. I don’t have to argue or defend it very much. Would I be able to be as magnificent as this woman is? Probably not. She is a foreigner, and also a deep believer. And she gets what she goes after. Would I be able to fight for my rights if I were not an American of white privilege? Because certainly people NOT of white privilege have to fight harder, show more patience, and hope longer than almost any white person does.  Would I be able to find a way to stand up for what my family needs, despite being called a dog? I don’t know if I could. But this woman did. And great was her reward.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us a life of comparative ease.  Now make us aware and empathetic to those who have to bear burdens and bad names just to help their children. Keep us ever mindful of others.   Amen.