Summary: Jesus leaves Capernaum and travels north forty or fifty miles to the borders of Tyre and Sidon which is modern Lebanon. It is here that we see a woman coming to Jesus to ask help for her daughter. She asked Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, ‘but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.” (Taken from Bits and Pieces, December, 1989, p. 2)
Jesus leaves Capernaum and travels north forty or fifty miles to the borders of Tyre and Sidon which is modern Lebanon. Although these cities were a part of Syria they were all independent with their own kings, their own money system and their own gods. This is Gentile country. It is here that we see a woman coming to Jesus to ask help for her daughter. She asked Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. Her language was Greek but she was a Canaanite (Mt.15:22). His answer was that it was not right to take the children’s bread and give it to dogs. The term "dog" was what the Jews called the Gentiles. They refused to have contact with what they called the unclean Gentile dogs. It is hard to know for sure why He used this term, but perhaps it was to show his disciples that their attitude toward the Gentiles was wrong. It seems that they were not pleased to have her bothering them (Mt. 15:23). Her reply was, "I know the children (Jews) are fed first but can’t I (a Gentile) even get the scraps the children throw away?" (V. 28)
Jesus is in Gentile territory. Is it any accident that this incident comes here? The previous incident shows Jesus wiping out the distinction between clean and unclean foods. Can it be that here, in symbol, we have him wiping out the difference between clean and unclean people? With this woman we find a combination of humility and faith, which the Lord liked and He said, "Your request is granted." (v. 29) This woman represents those in the Gentile world that took advantage of the Bread of Heaven which the Jews threw away.
Keep in mind that Jesus had walked over 100 miles and all that is recorded is this one miracle for an outcast. How is He still doing things like this today? I need to show concern for missionaries who have gone to unpopular parts of the world that I can pray for or send support. Also, I need to think of some unpopular person that perhaps I could witness to this week.