THE MISSION – Capernaum, Nazareth, Sidon
They spent about a week around the plains south of Sidon. Because they were in Gentile country only a few recognized who Jesus was. It was a time of rest and not contending with crowds. It was also a time for lessons. In one particular afternoon, when they were staying in a house of a Galilean acquaintance in a small village near Tyre, Jesus used an unexpected visit of a Syrophoenician woman as an object lesson for his disciples.
The woman had recognized him right away when they rode through the small village. Observing them enter the house, she barge in before the door was closed and threw herself to the ground before Jesus.
“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David,” she cried out in desperation, “for my only daughter is cruelly tormented by the evil spirits sent by the gods.”
Cornelius sympathized with her but noted that Jesus was not responding to her. He was not even looking at her. Her wailing for mercy became even louder and annoyance was showing on the disciples’ faces.
It was Judas Iscariot who spoke first. “Master, you must send her away or her loud screaming will bring all the needy to us.”
The other voiced similar concerns. It was when Judas and Thaddeus were about to pick up the woman to lead her out was when Jesus quickly stood up and was sternly looking at each of the Twelve. He stepped forward and helped her to her feet. Then he stepped back a couple of steps from her and as he was looking at each of the disciples, he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
She fell down to her knees and pleaded, “Lord, help me!”
Jesus again helped her up and again backed away two steps. This time he was looking directly at her and answered her with a slight smile, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Cornelius thought she was going to beg but she stood there contemplating on his words and stared at his smiling face. Then her eyes lit up with understanding and quickly said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” [Matthew 15:21-28]
Then the woman broke out in tears and embraced Jesus. Jesus then turned his eyes toward Cornelius.
Cornelius understood the silent request. “I will take her home to her daughter.”
As they were walking to her house, he surmised that this was a test. This woman passed and by the look of disappointment in Jesus’ eyes, they did not. When they reached her house, as expected, the daughter was normal.
The story continues on in my next post.
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