A Gentile with faith - 9 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

A mother in need. A sick child. A tired man who needed rest and, therefore, did not want people to know where he was staying, and because he was so well known, could not come and go undetected. It sounds like the framework for a very good short story. The further you read, the more you realise how beautiful this story is, but then, this is no fiction.

The sick girl, according to the facts, had an evil spirit in her. Our focus today is not on evil spirits and what they are, but on a sick child and her mother, who was very worried about her daughter. The moment she heard about Jesus, she came to him at once, but she had a big problem, she was not a Jew. We read that she was a Greek from Phoenicia and Matthew calls her a Canaanite. That is all we know about her. Fact is, she was no Jew and Jesus was a Jewish man.

It was quite unheard-of for a woman, and especially a non-Jewish woman, to come into the presence of a Jewish man uninvited, but her need was so great that she disregarded this convention. Her child was ill and she was a worried mother.

Jesus explained to her that he came to the people of Israel first by using the metaphor of not giving the children’s food to the dogs. She immediately understood what he meant, but had a metaphor of her own ready. Yes, she said, but it was also true that the dogs could enjoy the children’s leftovers.

This dialogue between Jesus and the Gentile woman tells us so much about what can happen when people meet Jesus. The great faith of this woman who believed that even the leftovers would be enough, was vindicated when Jesus sent her home with the words, “Because of that answer, go back home, where you will find that the demon has gone out of your daughter!”

Prayer: “Thank you so much, Lord, that nobody has to eat the leftovers under the table any more but can join you at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Amen