Summary: The secret of God’s blessings is to lie low at the feet of Jesus and cry our for mercy! If all you ask for is crumbs off the table, how can God refuse?
Friends if you listened carefully to the gospel story, it appears as though Jesus was not very inclined to heal the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman who came begging him for a miracle. It also seemed as though Jesus had enough and just wanted to get away because scripture tells us that he entered a house and did not want anyone to know it. I know I have felt like that at times and I am sure you have too. Sometimes it gets so rough that you want to run away from everyone and just be alone. This usually happens when we undergo a lot of stress or worry. And so in terms of Jesus, something must have gone wrong for Him to feel like that and if you look at the many events that preceded, it is easy to understand why?
Look at it this way. Jesus’ public ministry lasted only three years of which the first two or so were wonderful. People from all over thronged to him and the blind had their sight restored, the lame walked, the deaf were made to hear and the dead was raised to life. But as the days moved on, Jesus began to become very unpopular. The Pharisees especially watched him very carefully with the intent of discrediting him. We know from last weeks reading (Mat. 7: 1 cf) that they remarked about the disciples who ate food without washing their hands and how this amounted to breaking of the law. People were taking deep offense at Jesus’ words and so, Jesus sought the seclusion of a friend’s home so that he can center himself but even though he wanted to hide, he could not because the second part of the verse 24 said “he could not keep his presence secret” . The more Jesus tried to hide himself, the more he became known. Jesus is not only the bright and morning star but also the light of the world. How can such a great light be hid in the darkness of a home? Who can hide the glory of the son?
Nevertheless, Jesus was distressed because he came to his own and his own did not receive him. And so, the time was coming for Jesus to reach out to those who were outside the sheepfold. To those who would receive Him, he gave them the power to be the sons and daughters of God. The Syro Phoenician woman who came to Jesus was outside the fold; she was a Canaanite woman and therefore a gentile. She came from a race that was cursed by God and represented a people who were idol worshippers. Stained with this sin and conscious of her demerit, the woman still sought the divine mercy of Jesus both for herself and for her demon possessed daughter. Jesus could not hide from her. She was persistent in going to the source of life and healing and when she found Jesus she fell at his feet and said “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil”. Wonder how many of us have the humility to fall at the feet of Jesus and cry out “Have mercy on me Lord!” Over the years, I have noticed that people find it difficult to even kneel, not because they have a physical or health problem but because it is all right not to do so. Some of the older Churchers have removed the kneelers and new ones do not have them at all! We reap only what we sow and as people who are stained with sin, we must be careful as to how we present ourselves to an Almighty and Holy God. We are not worthy to even be in his presence let alone being in a posture that is less than humbling!
I am assuming that this humble woman was a widow who in her heartfelt plea’s revealed her immense love and affection for her daughter. Her child’s misery became her misery but she also sought a blessing for herself because she said “Lord, have mercy on me”. I said this before, but Jesus’ response was rather cold and there seemed to be unwillingness on his part to do anything for her. On the one hand we are told that Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses (Matt.8: 17). Jesus also said “come unto me all of you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Scripture also tells us that God said he would be a comfort to the comfortless, a father of the fatherless, and a husband to the widow? With Jesus’ silence, the woman must have been confused – she had come with a broken heart and much hope but failed to see the fulfillment of any of these great promises! Amd when Jesus finally spoke, matters got even worse because he said “ it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs”