“‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” Matthew 15:8-9
Day’s Reading: Matthew 15, Mark 7
The story of the Gentile woman whose daughter was demon possessed has often intrigued me and baffled me. Why would Jesus respond to her in such a way that it appeared he was shoving her off? Well, as God would have it, nothing could have been further from the truth, but let’s start at the beginning of the story to get a better understanding.
Jesus had just traveled to the region of Tyre and Sidon, about 50 miles from Capernaum, which is the farthest he is recorded to have traveled during his public ministry. Why had He traveled there? To get away from the crowds and their constant beckoning, to relax, and to bond with his disciples. Yet, this woman would not leave them alone. If I were Jesus at this point, I would have been totally annoyed because I had tried so hard to escape the constant requests for healing, yet all the while this woman wouldn’t stop pestering. That said, unlike me, Jesus calmly responded, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Mark 7:27). His remark meant no harm–just a request for patience. My interpretation—“Woman, please. Let me spiritually feed my disciples first and then I will help you when we are done.” Her reply? “I know you need to feed your disciples, but even little dogs consume children’s scraps from the table.” (my rough paraphrase). Meaning–“My Jesus, I know you are leading your disciples, but I’m desperate. I’ll do anything because I know your food is the only kind I need.” Jesus, recognizing her persistence as faith, heals her daughter that very hour. Conclusion? Sometimes persistence, however mundane, is the key to true faith. Keep pursuing Jesus; it’s totally worth it.
- Which character in today’s passage do you most relate too: The disciples who were left pondering? The Pharisees whose religion was more for show than a result of faith? Or the Gentile woman, whose persistence and faith led to the healing of her daughter? Why?
- How will the story of the Gentile woman’s persistence change how you pursue Jesus in the future? What steps are you going to make to put that change into motion?
- Thank God for the salvation of Gentiles and Jews.
- Pray for you and your spouse’s safety, purity, and power to resist sexual and/or emotional temptation.
- Request help regarding your children’s safety, wisdom and purity.
- Pray for the safety and wisdom for the military and those you know in the military.
- Submit your day’s activities to Him.
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