“On Your Mark”
To the Jew First, Then… (Chapter 7 Verses 24-30)
The answer is faith, such as is displayed here (v28). This encounter takes place near Tyre. Jesus has prudently withdrawn, not in fear, but wisely. That is something we ever need to be learning, when to confront, when to stand (Ephesians 6.10ff), and when simply to stand back. There are times when the opposition needs some time to think about what has been said. This woman obviously has heard of the mighty power of Jesus, and brings her evil-ridden daughter’s case to him. You see that not even children, the youngest escape the clutches of sin and evil (Psalm 51.5). Believe me, even today there are some powerfully evil children, we must not be naive. We must teach and train them in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6.4), it will not come naturally. This one is a victim of the Devil. The answer given by Jesus is for the disciple’s instruction as well as in response to the woman. There is a God-given order, the Jews first, then the Gentiles (Romans 1.16), the children referred to by Jesus equal the Jewish nation. This woman cannot come before the Jews (Matthew 10.6). But there is a veiled promise here, the Gentiles do come in, he is not turning her away, he is instructing the faith of those around, including her.
The bread is the Person and ministry of Jesus (John 6.1-15; 25-59). The woman’s submissive faith is astonishing (v28), and can be attributed only to the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. She submits wholeheartedly to the Divine plan and program, no argument. Not even a question as to why should God so order it this way. The reply is beautiful. She willingly, and humbly, begs like the dog under the table (Matthew 23.12; Luke 18.9-14). Faith in all its loveliness. The true greatness of her faith praised by Jesus (v29-30), is due not to the overcoming factor, but its humble submissiveness. The acceptance of the word of the Lord (John 4.50). Can anyone really become a Christian without the acceptance of what the Bible, the word of God teaches? I don’t think so. Where there are still arguments, and misgivings about the Scriptures there is no real faith. This woman made Jesus’ word her very own and confessed her faith in his own words. Jesus looks for such faith in all of us. The word of the Lord, when taken in faith and obedience, always fulfil its purpose (Isaiah 55.10-11).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)