I love to bake. During Christmas I make Russian Tea Cakes, Almond Roca bars, raspberry shortbread bars, and a few others that change each year. My family loves sugar cookies so I make lots of those, and as you can see from the picture, my decorating is very homemade looking. Nothing fancy but oh so yummy! A good cookie can bring a smile to anyone’s face. And when its homemade there’s an extra sweetness. Sometimes the cookie is so good that I’ll even eat the crumbs. They are still delicious. I want to get every morsel of the goodness.
I have read the story of the Canaanite woman in the Bible many times over the years. I would always get stuck on the verse where she says, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. (Matthew 15:27 NIV)” I knew it was about faith but didn’t know what I was supposed to get from it. I would read it a few times, shake my head, and move on still a bit confused as to what it really meant. The Lord brought me back to this passage the other day and finally I got revelation on the importance of this story. Thank you Jesus!
She was a Canaanite.
The entire story of The Faith of the Canaanite Woman is in Matthew 15:21-28. It’s also in Mark 7:24-30. Matthew makes sure we know she is a Canaanite. This is important because ancient Canaanites were enemies of Israel who did many detestable things in the eyes of God. Sodom was a Canaanite city and we all know what happened there (Genesis 19). They also practiced child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21). There’s not enough time or space in one blog post for me to go into the details of the Canaanites. Historically, they were bad. So it’s a big deal that a Canaanite woman came to Jesus.
She knew who Jesus was.
“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David,” (Matthew 15:22a). Let’s just stop right there for a moment. She is calling Jesus “Son of David”. She knows who He is. The rightful King (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The promised Messiah. Not many had acknowledged publicly who Jesus was at that point, not even His own disciples.
She was desperate for Jesus’ help.
“Have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession,” (Matthew 15:22b NIV). Any parent can relate to this feeling of helplessness when your child is suffering. She knows there is nowhere else to turn, and with every fiber of her being wants her daughter free. Jesus is the only one who could help her daughter.
She was persistent.
“Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said (Matthew 15:23-25 NIV). She doesn’t give up when initially Jesus won’t help. This was Him testing her faith, not rejecting her. So she persists and kneels before him. That takes courageous faith.
She knew what Jesus could do.
“He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (V. 26). The bread symbolizes the gospel of salvation. The children are the Jews. The dogs represent Gentiles. Jesus is testing her faith and telling her that He came for the Jews first. “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (V.27). She acknowledges the history of her people and the contempt of the Jews toward her people but that does not stop her. She knows that Jesus would still have plenty of power to help her daughter.
She had great faith.
”Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (V. 28). Jesus answers her plea for help because of her faith. Hallelujah!! I can only imagine the joy she felt when she found her daughter completely free from her suffering. Jesus gave her grace and mercy all because of her persistent faith and His amazing love.
Those little crumbs represent big things. Jesus came for all of us; Jews and Gentiles. “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,” (Romans 3:29 NIV). Jesus died for the whole world’s sins (1 John 2:2).
The Canaanite woman had great, bold faith. She came to Jesus in spite of her lineage, because she knew who He was. Lord. Son of David. The Messiah. She also knew even a few crumbs is all it would take to heal her daughter. Jesus has enough saving, holy power for all of us. Actually, He’s got more than enough. It’s just that initially, the Jews were waiting for their Messiah, but He came to save all of us.
I don’t believe we are to ask for crumbs. Let’s ask for the whole cookie. I want everything He has for me. Including the trials, and struggles. We too can boldly come to Jesus in our times of trouble and ask for His help. It does not matter what your past is. It does not matter what’s been spoken over you. It does not matter how overwhelming your circumstance is. Jesus came for you and for me!
If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, today would be a great day to change that. “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Acts 2:21 NIV).
Love you all,