“But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of Him and came and fell down at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered Him, ‘Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And He said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.'” (Mark 7:25-29 ESV)
Who would have ever expected Jesus to insult somebody—especially a helpless woman with a sick daughter? It just isn’t like Him. And so this story drives us crazy. What does it mean?
But maybe we are missing something. Notice that Jesus never says no to her. Instead He says something about the children being fed first, before the dogs get any. And then He watches for her reaction.
She could have started crying and walked away. But she didn’t. Why? Because she’s a desperate mother with a sick child. Who cares about the insult?! No mother in that situation is going to give up. No, she’s going to keep bugging Jesus. And so, quick as a flash, she brings up the puppies under the table.
How delighted Jesus must have been! Now there’s faith for you—faith that stands up in God’s very face and refuses to be knocked down. No wonder He said to her, “For such a statement you may go your way—the demon has left your daughter.” Because we knew all along He was going to heal the child, right? When did Jesus ever leave such distress unhelped?
Prayer: Lord, even when it seems like You are against me, help me to keep trusting in Your love. Amen.
* How do you usually react to insults?
* Have you ever felt that God was against you? When?
* When have you seen God suddenly turn a bad situation around?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo, originally published in Lutheran Hour Ministries.