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Jesus Manifests His Compassion

(Matthew 15:21-31)

Lesson 4 -- fourth quarter 2001
September 23, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Can you take no answer?

I get tired of asking. I don't like to be a pest. I don't like to plead. I don't like to feel like I'm at someone's mercy, helplessly dependent on another's whim and fancy. So if I ask once or twice and get no answer, I will generally quit in disgust and resignation. Unless being ignored makes me mad...but that's another problem for another occasion.

Unfortunately, this mentality carries over into my praying too easily. After I petition God steadily and regularly for awhile without getting the desire of my heart, I tend to quit. How easily do you quit?

The Syrophenician woman made a request of Jesus, "but he answered her not a word" (Matthew 15:23). That didn't keep her from continuing her pleas, eventually seeming to drive the disciples to distraction: "His disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us." So long as Jesus didn't deny her request, she refused to take no answer as a "no" answer. The Master's silence and apparent disregard didn't deter her.

So let's keep asking! Let's not give up! Even if we must pray 23 years for the salvation of a friend or family member, let's do it!

He called her a dog!


Have you ever said you wanted to hear something "straight from the horse's mouth"? I'm certain that when you made such a statement you didn't have in mind hearing a horse speak. No, you were simply using an old figure of speech to communicate your wish to hear something directly from the source. You had no intention of demeaning anyone by calling them a horse.

That is how I read Jesus' comment to the non-Jewish woman: "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs" (Matthew 15:26). I do not believe the Lord was calling her a dog. He used a figure of speech to call attention to the boldness and hugeness of her request.

Faith and crumbs.

Jesus told the woman that it would be wrong to take bread from a child to feed to a dog. The woman agreed, then made a tremendous point: people allow dogs to eat the crumbs of that bread. Jesus immediately gave the woman credit for this confident statement of faith: "O woman, great is thy faith."

What was it in this lady's statement that moved the Lord to make such a comment? It seems to me the answer (at least in part) is this: She recognized that the smallest crumb from the Master was enough to remedy her biggest problem. And she is right!

I wonder just how profoundly I believe that. Is the power and grace of Jesus that big in our eyes? Can we believe that anything from His hand will completely meet our needs?

Who gets glory from your good deeds?

I like recognition; I fear I often crave it. However, I want by my deeds to cause others to glorify the God of Mark, not Mark.

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