# 15: THE HEALING OF
A GENTILE WOMAN'S DAUGHTER
(Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30)
Spring, A. D. 29, Tyre and Sidon, Phoenicia (northwest of Galilee):
Jesus and his disciples cross the northern border into the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon. Soon they are welcomed into a home and it looks like they will have a period of rest, away from the public eye. However, a Greek woman who has heard about Jesus is looking for him. She arrives at the house and the people let her in and she falls down at Jesus’ feet and begs, “Son of David, have mercy on me, for my daughter is constantly tormented by a devil! Please, come and cast it out of her!” This Gentile woman called Jesus by his Jewish title, when she has no right to ask this of a Jewish king. So Jesus doesn’t answer her. His mission from the Father at this stage is to minister to the Jews.
His disciples request, “Master, please send her away!” But the woman bows before him and persists in asking him. He replies, “First let the children be fed, for it is not becoming or proper or right to take the children's bread and throw it to the little house dogs” (Mark 7:27, AMP).
The woman notices there is nothing rude or callous in Jesus’ tone. Strangely to her, he gave her a kind smile when he answered. And the love of God, such as she had not seen before, radiates from his face. In humility and faith she declares, “Yes, Lord, but even small pet dogs eat the little bits which the children drop from their master's table.”
This time she did not appeal to him by his Jewish title, “Son of David”, but she called him “Lord”. Her appeal to Jesus as the Jewish Anointed Leader failed to bring the desired response from Jesus, but when she expresses her faith in him, calling on Him as “Lord”, he responds, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. Because of this saying, you may go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter [permanently]” (Matthew 15:28a, Mark 7:29, AMP). She joyfully thanks him, rises to her feet, and runs home. When she returns home, she finds her daughter totally healed!
Old Testament Promises Fulfilled:
“For whoever calls on the Lord will be delivered”
“My name shall be great among the Gentiles;”
“He shall speak peace to the nations;”
(Malachi 1:11b, Zechariah 9:10c, NKJV)
Note: To describe large street dogs, the New Testament uses the Greek word “kusin” (Luke 16:21, Matthew 7:6, Philippians 3:2, Revelation 22:15). But the Greek word for “dogs” used by Jesus in this passage is “kunariois” and it describes little house dogs (Matthew 15:26-27, Mark 7:27-28). I would not be far off to interpret what Jesus said as, “It is not wise to throw the children’s food to the Chihuahuas under the table!” (This reminds me how, during the first years of our marriage, Sharon and I had some friends whose small boys made a practice of throwing food to their dogs during mealtime. I remember one Sunday after church we went out to eat with this family at a chicken restaurant. By the end of the meal the boys had thrown chicken scraps and bones all over the carpet around our table. We were embarrassed to be sitting with them.)
Anyway, this woman was not offended by what Jesus said. And it is so important that she called on Jesus as Lord. By calling Him “Lord”, she was saying, “I will do what You say do; I will obey what You teach; I will follow where You lead”. Making Jesus Lord or not making Him Lord can make the difference between whether a prayer is answered or not. Jesus knew this woman was sincere, and He gave her what she asked for.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 145-147.