There’s certain things about Jesus’ life that demand attention. For instance, in situations we might think needed little or no explanation, Jesus would ask, “What do you want?” or “Where is your faith” or “Who do you say that I am?” On the flip side of this, Jesus never quizzed his follower on facts such as, how many commandments are there?” He never passed out any fill-in-the-blank worksheets. He never offered simple, pat answers. Instead His entire ministry led people to wonder, grapple and wrestle with the hard questions of life and faith. One passage that stands out to me showing the radical nature of the Christ is found in Matthew 15: 21f. A woman approaches Jesus and asks Him to heal her daughter. On the surface, it looks as if Jesus is calling her a dog and makes her beg for her daughter’s healing. In reality, this is a major turning point in Jesus’ ministry. In v.24, He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” In this instance, He was talking about Israel in general. Isaiah 53:6 reminds us, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus’ mission toward the end of His life was to reveal Himself as the Messiah. But, there was something in the persistence of this faithful Canaanite woman that touched Jesus. She humbles herself to the point of saying even the dog’s get scraps from their masters’ tables. What’s the point? SHE RECOGNIZES JESUS AS MESSIAH! When Jesus referred to this woman as a ‘dog’ He’s not making a reference to the wild, feral dogs that roamed the land at that time. He’s making reference to a mild-mannered house dog. He uses this illustration to show His mission first to the Jews and then the Gentiles. Interestingly enough, this woman isn’t offended in the least! Why? Not only did she believe Him to be the Messiah, she also knew what He was saying was true. The faith Jesus was hoping to instill in the Jewish people was vital and alive in this Gentile woman! Because of her faith, as well as the faith of other Gentiles, his mission extended to include Gentiles. (It was also His ultimate plan to save ALL mankind!) Our Lord isn’t intent on simply ‘patching us up’. He wants to recreate us! Allow the radical love of Jesus Christ to embrace you today. Submit to Him through obedience.
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you! Kevin
Kevin Lough is the minister at the Whitehall Church of Christ in Fairmont WV.