|The Syro-Phoenician Woman|
That Which Defiles
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Very interestingly Jesus engages with those who are his relentless critics. He points out their own hypocrisies.
I would have expected him to shrug his shoulders and blow them off.
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
She is not going to take no for an answer. She has the persistence of the patriarch Jacob.
The covenant blessings.
She contradictions and argues with him in her desperation. In response, he essentially changes his mind, as God did in response to Abraham’s prayers. We see here the power of faith.
NIV note–Jesus was pleased with the woman’s reply. It revealed not only her wit, but also her faith and humility.
Jesus delays his answer three times–he first ignores her, then seems to refuse her. He is testing her faith. She persists in her prayer with a deep, prescient faith in his identity and power. Because she persists in her prayer–despite the fact that apparently it wasn’t going to be answered–her faith is rewarded. I
Faith brings about the answering of prayers.
ESV note–Though God’s plan was to bring salvation first to Israel and then to the Gentiles, Jesus responds to all who call upon him in true faith. The Gentile woman’s attitude of humble faith allowed Jesus healing ministry to operate.