Wow! This mother was desperate. The disciples urged him to send her away. Her cries annoyed them. Her audacity probably did too. But she kept pursuing Jesus even when he seemed to ignore her. “Lord, help me! My daughter is suffering terribly.” When he did finally respond, he told her what she already knew…he was here for the lost sheep of Israel, not Gentiles. You would think that would have caused her to slink away, red-faced. Not this woman! She got on her knees and begged. She begged like a dog….
She knew she had no place at the table. She was a Greek, for goodness sake! She had no illusion she deserved a miracle. But somehow she was convinced Jesus might break through all the social and religious barriers to heal her daughter. So she begged for a crumb….And she got it. I can’t imagine what must have been going through Jesus’ mind as he witnessed such a display of humble, desperate belief. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (verse 28).
Contrast this with the encounter Jesus had just experienced with the Pharisees. No way would they even think about breaking through social or religious barriers. Their man-made rules far outweighed God’s commands. Even the thought of breaking one of their traditions was intolerable. They clung to their laws because laws made them feel superior to other people. And they were all about pride. I can hardly picture them begging anyone for anything. Jesus called them out on their blatant hypocrisy. “Leave them; they are blind guides” (Matthew 15:14).
None of us acquire immunity from pride. We limp through life as a fallen rebellious people who have no more right to sit at the table than that desperate Gentile mother. Jesus paid an exorbitant price to secure a place for us. I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of that sometimes. Reminded not to take it for granted, not to be blinded by Christianease. Not to fall into the Pharisee camp.
I want always to remember I’m a lot like that Gentile woman. I’m desperate. I’m unworthy. And “I ain’t too proud to beg…(as the Temptations put it)…ain’t too proud to beg.”
How about you?