Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Table Scraps

Table Scraps
February 19, 2018
Matthew 15:27  "'. . . Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.'"

Jesus came to serve a small segment of the population, originally. He kept His ministry to the Jews and a very tight radius of travel. His goal was to focus on making disciples and then send those disciples out to be the missionaries. Because of this, He did not end up spending time ministering to those outside the Jewish camp. Among those outside the Jewish camp were the Canaanites. Remember that the land of Canaan was promised to Abraham by the Lord and Joshua was supposed to drive out the Canaanites. In short, Canaanites were non-believers, akin to modern day atheists today. Jesus did not spend His short days on earth ministering to the "atheists," rather He kept it very focused.

But one woman, a Canaanite, traveled to see Jesus because her daughter was demon-possessed. She thought that if she could just get to Jesus, if she could just request a healing, that He could grant the request. She was desperate and knew who had the ability, the power to save her daughter.  She was intent on speaking with Him, and knew He could do it, but was unsure if He would be willing. She made the bold request to Him, after interrupting multiple times, and Jesus slightly rebuked her, suggesting that Canaanites were viewed like dogs to the Jews because they rejected any type of faith.  Nonetheless, the woman persisted, knowing that Jesus held the power to restore her daughter. Jesus said the Canaanites were like dogs and she responded that even dogs got the scraps from the table. By agreeing that her people were like dogs to the Jews, she was admitting her people had rejected the Hebrew faith, but she also was acknowledging that Jesus alone had the power and authority to drive out demons. She, based on the reputation of Jesus alone, had become a believer in Him. It wasn't just a belief in Him, but a full knowledge and admission of Him as Lord. Likely she wrestled through her own personal belief systems and came to the realization that Jesus alone had all authority. She came to this realization and did the next logic step: begged Him for mercy on her daughter.

Jesus declared that this table-scrap woman was actually a woman of great faith. She was a dog that requested a humble favor from a king, not because she was worthy, but because she believed in Jesus. Not very many people were noted in the Bible by Jesus as having great faith, but it is likely that this former "atheist" will see us all in Heaven someday. Do you and I have the same great faith of this table-scrap woman? She knew who He was and made the bold move to seek her request. Her faith was strong because she walked in it, taking the steps to go before out the King. You and I know who He is, but do we have the great faith in seeking Him out and begging for the life-altering request?

The Canaanite woman's argument with the Lord, when He called her a dog, was that she knew and believed in His gentleness, kindness, and compassion in treating the Jews would bleed over into the non-Jews. She was calling Him out with regard to His character, and Jesus commended her for it. She knew who Jesus was, character and all, and wanted to make the most out of His character. You and I know who He is, but do we make the most out of His character. He wants to see your life healed. He wants to see your life changed and used for His glory. He wants you to come to Him with your problems. The Canaanite woman exercised all these things with Jesus but you and I sometimes leave food on the table, not fully taking advantage of all the opportunities of being a child of God. Sometimes, we don't even get the table scraps because we forget to come to the table.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Joshua 3:10, Judges 1:27-36, Matthew 15:21-28

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