Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)
With Jesus, the disciples landed at Gennesaret. When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed. This was what Jesus did with His compassion and love. The same Jesus is always watching over us, and stretching His hand toward us with His love. What we need is to put all our trust in Him, and hold on tight His loving hand under all circumstances. Then He will take us to the safe harbor that He prepared for us. This is our faith and hope.
Then Jesus took the His disciples, and went up to Tyre and Sidon, the port located in modern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. They were about 20 miles (or about 36 Km) away from the Gennesaret at the edge of the north-west side of the sea of Galilee. Before Jesus left the Gennesaret region, He was confronted by some Pharisees and teachers of religious law, who came from Jerusalem. They challenged, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old transition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (Matthew 15:10-11)
Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” (Mark 7:20-23)
It is absolutely true that what defines us is what come out of us. Jesus listed 13 different evil things coming out of a person’s heart. Nobody can say “I am absolutely free from these vile things from within.” Our hearts are equally capable of spewing out these vile things, when a condition is right and a situation allows. Only is the safe harbor Jesus. Although we are not capable, Jesus is stronger than all evil temptations approaching to us like the night storm that tossed around Jesus’ disciples. Yes, Jesus. Jesus is the only name that we can hold on when strong temptations are approaching to us. There is no other name than Jesus, who protects us and leads to the safe harbor, where we can take Heavenly rest in Him.
When Jesus with His disciples arrived at the region of Tyre and Sidon, a Gentile woman who lived there came to Jesus. She had a very heavy heart because of her daughter who had been demon-possessed long time. She did everything that she could to heal her beloved daughter. Nothing worked. Her daughter continued suffering daily. This put her heart in great pain day after day. She too heard about Jesus, who healed the sick, and gave hope to those who were suffering. She also heard Jesus was coming to her region. She determined to see Jesus to ask for Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. One big problem lied between her and Jesus. She was not a Jew, but Jesus was a Jew. So far Jesus healed Jews. She was not completely sure whether Jesus would even listen to her plea of healing her daughter because she and her daughter were not Jews. Even so, it was such a small matter because for her, Jesus was only hope, who could heal her demon-possessed daughter.
She came to where Jesus and His disciples were. As soon as she saw Jesus, and she ran into Him pleading,
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” (Matthew 15:22b)
She really hoped Jesus would hear her plea, because there was no other way to heal her daughter. She heard many stories about Jesus, who were always compassionate and full of mercy. To her surprise, Jesus gave her no attention at all, not even a word. Jesus was so cold to her, and she was bewildered. With courage, she looked up Jesus, but Jesus continue walking while ignoring her. Her heart was broken, and she did not know what to do. Even that moment, her heart continued saying Jesus was the only hope to heal her daughter. Surely, she could not give up this only opportunity that she found to heal her daughter. She continued pleading to Jesus by being in the way of Jesus’ path.
His disciples saw her, a Gentile woman, who blocked their way, and pleading healing of her daughter. They knew she was not a Jew, but a Gentile. (At that time, the Jews treated Gentiles very poorly.) Thus, His disciples could not stand anymore.
“Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” (Matthew 15:22b)
Even so, the mother of the sick daughter was persistent. She continued begging and pleading. Only was in her mind her sick daughter. It was the power and strength of the love of the mother in faith that Jesus would heal her daughter.
Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
What a devastating response of Jesus! Jesus refused to heal her daughter because of one simple reason that her daughter was not a Jew. That was exactly what she concerned from the beginning. This was not a matter of how to do or what to do or whet to believe. There was no way to make her daughter a Jew because she, a Gentile, gave birth of her daughter as a Gentile. It was not her daughter’s fault, but she bore her daughter as a Gentile. This made her truly sorrowful about herself being a Gentile. Even so, she could not stop begging. For her, Jesus was the only hope to heal her daughter. She desperately clang to Him while begging Jesus’ mercy on her daughter. Nothing could change her. She believed Jesus could heal her daughter.
She was really persistent in her absolute faith in Jesus. Jesus intently saw her, and He was silent for a while. The crowd silently watched on her and Jesus.
Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:25)
Jesus again responded harshly. Jesus equated her to a dog. What a humiliation! So far, she believed, pleaded, worshipped, begged, but Jesus treated her like a dog. How many people would continue pleading to someone who says “It is not right to give food of my children to a dog like you.”? She endured. Why? Her love for her sick daughter was greater than all kinds of humiliations that she took. She loved her sick daughter more than anything else. Her humiliation and rejection before the people was nothing to her as long as her daughter was healed. She had an absolute faith in Jesus who would surely heal her daughter.
The Jesus’ answer silenced her. All felt that it was the end of the discussion between Jesus and her. It was not the case. She was carefully preparing her response over Jesus’ humiliating and ice-cold response. In fact, even the last humiliation could not make her faith diminished — Jesus would surely heal her daughter. She did not care whether she was treated like a dog or not as long as her daughter was healed by Jesus.
She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27)
She humbly accepted her being treated like a dog, but she continued pleading that she, even as a dog, was allowed to eat the scraps falling beneath the mater’s table. Then she looked up Jesus and begging for Jesus’ mercy while waiting silently.
“Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed. (Matthew 15:28)
Jesus suddenly changed His voice and walked up to the mother of the demon-possessed daughter. Finally, Jesus acknowledge her absolute faith in Him and her never-ceasing love to the sick daughter. Jesus answered her plea by telling “Your faith is great.” Her faith was great, which could not be quenched by any means. Since she came to Jesus for her daughter, her eyes had never left from fixing on Jesus in faith of healing her sick daughter. She had a truly strong faith. As we read, for her, it was terribly difficult to continue having faith in Jesus. When she pleaded, Jesus’s response was really cold. The Jesus’ disciples were another obstacle. They actually tried to get rid of her. Eventually, she was treated like a dog by Jesus. But in her absolute faith, she was persistent. She even responded that even a dog ate a crumb falling beneath the master’s table. Although she was a Gentile, she believed, believed and believed in Jesus. Jesus saw her faith, and Jesus healed her daughter.
Yes, her faith was absolutely immovable, which made her demon-possessed daughter healed. Do we have such a faith before God? Is it really difficult for us to hold on tight Jesus in faith? Are all things against us although we continue believing in Him? Let’s not be discouraged. Instead remember the Gentile woman. No matter what happened in the course of her belief, she endured. The Gentile woman was even treated like a dog, but she believed. She was pushed away by His disciples because of only one reason that she was a Gentile, but she believed. Whenever she got a cold response from Jesus, she was not discouraged, but she believed. How about our faith in Jesus? Are we getting a cold response by the people around or even our fellow believers because of our faith? Again, please remember the Gentile woman. Are we pushed around because of our faith? Remember the Gentile woman did. Are we treated like a dog? Remember the Gentile woman an how she responded in faith.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)