Read Matthew 15
It’s time for another faith story. This time it is not from a Hebrew or Roman, but by people who were in the land before either. The Canaanites were in the land that God promised to Abraham’s descendants. They were not in the line of Abraham. They were not all destroyed or run off when Joshua entered the land following slavery in Egypt and the death of Moses.
One woman, a Canaanite, came to Jesus and asked him to heal her daughter from demon possession. Jesus did not reply to her. The disciples wanted Jesus to send her away as she was making quite the scene.
Jesus told her that he had not come for her or her people, but to the lost sheep of Israel. What was he saying?
Your time has not yet come. Jesus came into the Promised Land and preached first to God’s Chosen People—a model for Paul after the resurrection of the Christ. After his death and resurrection, Jesus would send his disciples to take the good news to the world. For now, his sights were set on God’s Chosen People.
His mission between this point and the cross focused on God’s Chosen People.
The Jesus responded to the woman saying it was not right to give the bread designated for the children to the dogs. In 2020, that statement would have gone viral as offensive. The woman would have been required to be offended.
Instead, she stuck to the metaphor and noted that even the dogs get table scraps.
Jesus saw her faith and healed her daughter.
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus came for the lost sheep of Israel, but so often the lost sheep did not know the voice of their Shepherd. Some who were not expected to receive the Son of God, saw him and sought him ever more intently than those who should have.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. All this woman had to make her case before the Lord was faith. As it turned out, faith was more than enough.
Sometimes our best examples of faith come from the least expected places.