After a predominantly “toddler-populated” and very long flight home from Israel, I walked into my home here in Charlotte, NC. I found myself welcomed by two sweet pups, who obviously missed me. I could tell because they were SO EXCITED. And one of them even made a little tinkle. (Forgive me I know that sounds so silly, but she did!) Also home was Dylan, sick with a fever home from school. My how reality hits fast. Despite the long flight with little to no sleep, the sick child at home, and the new spot on the carpet needing immediate attention, I am thankful.
You may remember a few weeks ago I posted about how I’d lost my mo-jo. I Became Unconfident As Just Me. I was hoping this trip to Israel would light my fire so to speak. Refresh me. Renew my faith and give me a quench for God and His Word like never before. All that and so much more happened.
I want my faith to be like the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15: 21-28. Go ahead and read it all now, then we’ll disect it. (You can just read through the following passage and my notes here, or you can get out your Bible and notebook and study it with me~ Seriously, I’m studying this as I write this post.)
Begin with verse 21 in Matthew 15. Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Stop. Now before I went to Israel, I would have skimmed this verse, just to get to what I considered to be the meat of the message. But I’ve learned to slow down when reading Scripture.
- What place did Jesus leave? Gennasaret (Matthew 14:34) Near to the photo taken above.
- And when it says “withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon,” just what does that mean? Tyre and Sidon were both mentioned in Matthew 11 when Jesus spoke of cities that did not repent. Verse 21: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Foreshadowing maybe?
- How far is that? About 35-38 miles (remember no Uber back then, Jesus was on foot!)
- What is the land like? He had to cross mountains before getting the coast (Tyre). The land of Israel is not typically easy terrain.
- How long did it take? I don’t know. A few days at least would be my guess.
- What is the signifigance of these 2 cities? Why here? We see these cities mentioned in Matthew 11 and now if we read on in Matthew 15, we find out there is a woman here who needs Jesus. Let’s read on.
When we continue to read in Matthew 15:21-28, we find that a Canaanite (not Jewish, but a Gentile) woman comes to Jesus, calling him “Lord, Son of David” asking for healing for her demon-posessed daughter. The disciples traveling with Jesus didn’t seem to have much compassion on this woman. They urged Jesus to send her away. They are obviously annoyed by her.
Jesus says to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (See Verse 24 here for explanation.) Once you read the explanation, you realize how rare this request is and how rare for Jesus to grant it. Basically He’s telling her that she’s not really a part of His mission today.
After Jesus replied to her, she changed instantly, calling Him just “Lord.” She dropped the “Son of David.” Just “Lord.” And she pleads, “Lord, help me!”
He replied with a response that people of that time would understand. Verse 26~ “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Jews of that time understood the richness of bread. And Gentiles were often referred to as dogs. What this verse is saying is that Jesus came to give the Jews the first opportunity to know Him as Lord. She, as a Gentile, is only receiving the crumbs. And just look at her reply. Oh how I love this.
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
This woman understands that crumbs from the Master’s table are enough.
In verse 28, Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
She gets it. Unlike so many, she gets it. She’s willing to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessing for her daughter. She recognizes Him as her Lord.
I want faith like this, but the truth is, sometimes I want more. Ok, a lot of times I want more.
- “Lord, help me by giving me time to study your Word.” Then I add, “Without interruption. At least an hour every morning.”
- “Lord, help by giving me a good job to help provide for my family.” Then I add, “And money to get more clothes, furniture and take vacations too.”
- And just recently, I prayed, “Lord, as I leave Israel, please allow me experience peace, thanksgiving and stay focused on you.” Then I added, “No distractions. No obstacles. No problems. No frustrations.” (hahahahahahaha, that’s pretty funny huh?)
This woman in Matthew 15 was willing to take the crumbs from her Master. Healing for her daughter, no more. She called Him Lord. That’s all.
Something to Think About
When you read Scripture, do you fly through it looking for a blessing or word of encouragement for the day?
Arie, our teacher in Israel, challenged us to read the Bible like a piece of music. Each word is like a note. Imagine if a note was left out or if the wrong note was inserted in your favorite song? It would change the whole tune. Look closely at all the words in the Bible when you read it. Even the ones that don’t seem important.
Maps! People! Studying the land and people of Israel is so helpful in understanding Scripture.
Are crumbs from the Master’s table enough for you?
After studying this passage a bit more, my perspective is different. And I can say despite the screaming toddlers on the plane, lack of sleep, the sick child, and the tinkle on the carpet, I am thankful. Crumbs are enough. More than enough.