In this story of faith, Jesus encountered a gentile woman whose daughter was vexed by demonic spirits. We see in this story the illustration of how Jesus showed He cared for the whole world not just the people of Israel. In Matthew 15: 21 - 28 we read.
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." 24 But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" 26 But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." 27 And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Story summary: After a confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus and his disciples went into the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon. The Israelites (including the 12 apostles) viewed any non-Jew as a dog. The Israelites, especially the religious leaders, had become self-righteous and pompous because of God's favor upon them.
The Jews (Which is short for the tribal name Judah which has to come to include all the tribes of Israel) were chosen by God to be a peculiar people. They were to be an example for God on what good things can happen to a country when the people of that country obey God and his commandments by faith. All the people had to do was be faithful to God's precepts and orders. Because they had been chosen by God, they had adopted an attitude of "We are holier than thou". This attitude produced a self righteous people who looked good on the outside, but on the inside they had no faith and were full of darkness.
In our story, Jesus teaches his apostles a valuable lesson. Yes, the gospel of Jesus Christ was always meant to go to the Jews first but never at the exclusion of the Gentiles. Jesus had every intention of bringing the whole world to a saving knowledge of Him so they could put their trust and faith in Him. He was going to use the Jewish people to bring that about. Jesus himself chose to be born a Jew..which means that all anti-Semitic remarks and Jewish hatred is actually a hatred of Jesus himself.
The fact that the Jews have again returned to their homeland and antisemitism is on the rise, shows that Jesus is still going to use the Jews to bring the whole world under Christ's rule. The future capitol of the world will be Jerusalem and you will see that city mentioned more and more frequently on the news as Satan prepares for battle with Christ.
A Gentile woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter who was sorely vexed by unclean spirits. His apostles viewed the woman as too low in stature to be worth for Jesus to bother with her, especially since she was not even a Jew. Jesus used this moment to test the woman's faith in order to bring home a very important truth to His disciples: Jesus cared for everyone.
He was preparing His followers for what was soon to come which was the atoning sacrifice Jesus made on the cross which was done for the whole world not just the Jewish people.
Jesus told the woman He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel and it was not good to take the children's bread and feed it to dogs. The dogs here was a reference to the type of dogs that are family pets. The woman's reply was that even the little puppies ate the crumbs from the master's table. This answer greatly pleased Jesus because this woman demonstrated a much greater faith than what His disciples were currently showing. Jesus granted the woman's request and healed her daughter at the very instant even though the woman's daughter was not there with them.
The woman addressed Jesus as "son of David" so she had to have some kind of familiarity with who Jesus was. This indicated that the Gentile woman knew and recognized Jesus for who He really was and accepted Him whereas the Jewish leaders rejected their Messiah. People pay a very high price for rejecting Jesus as the nation of Israel has found out.It is interesting to note that Jesus did not have to be in the daughter's presence in order to heal her. The bible never states why a person becomes possessed or how it occurs. Many people in the past who were thought to be demon possessed could have been cured by the right medicine and there are many people today who are taking medicine who really need to be delivered from demonic oppression.
Jesus has the power to do both and the faith of a gentile woman who was considered no more than a dog from the Jewish perspective proved it.
MY NAME IS LEGION This is Part III of our studies of Jesus
and his encounters with demons.