21Jesus left and went to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon.22Suddenly a Canaanite woman from there came out shouting, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is full of demons.”23Jesus did not say a word. But the woman kept following along and shouting, so his disciples came up and asked him to send her away.
24Jesus said, “I was sent only to the people of Israel! They are like a flock of lost sheep.”
25The woman came closer. Then she knelt down and begged, “Please help me, Lord!”
26Jesus replied, “It isn't right to take food away from children and feed it to dogs.”
27“Lord, that's true,” the woman said, “but even dogs get the crumbs that fall from their owner's table.”
28Jesus answered, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith, and you will be given what you want.” At that moment her daughter was healed.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
The disciples are often amazed at Jesus, both by the wow factor of his miracles as well as his tendency to challenge the establishment and cultural norms. But what amazes Jesus? It’s always faith – faith that shows up in unexpected places (Matthew 8:10) or faith absent when it should be expected (Mark 6:6). So what is it about this Canaanite woman that causes him to cry out, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith!”?
She has no ethnic ties to the Jewish faith, yet she approaches Jesus as her only hope. She’s desperate enough to beg. She’s persistent in her cause. She’s humble yet quick-witted in her parries. But most importantly, she knows that Jesus is the Messiah, calling him “Lord, Son of David.” She believes, against all odds, that he can help her.
In the land of Abraham’s children by birth emerges a unique woman, a Gentile by birth but full of faith. Paul tells us this qualifies her as one of Abraham’s real offspring (Romans 9:8). Do you remember the point at which Jesus declared Zaccheus to be a son of Abraham? It wasn’t at birth. It was at the point of his salvation, when he acted in faith. Jesus exclaimed, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19:9 ESV
Are you a “Zaccheus,” born into a spiritual legacy? Do you take that inheritance for granted or do you live up to the legacy of faith you’ve been handed? Or are you like the Canaanite woman, without benefit of a spiritual heritage? Whatever your background, do you embrace the grace and mercy Christ offers, recognizing that you deserve nothing? That is the only standing any of us can count on: broken, sinful people standing before God, wearing robes of righteousness offered freely by Christ himself.
Loving Father, you graciously grafted me into Abraham’s family tree through faith. Help me to live up to the position I’ve been given as a child of God so that I can testify to your grace and mercy. In the saving name of Jesus Christ, Amen.