Healing Is The Children’s Bread

One of the most fascinating stories in the Bible is the healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter in Matthew 15.  It’s interesting because it appears that initially Jesus told the woman no when she asked for the healing of her daughter.  This seems contrary to the common belief that Jesus never refused healing to anyone who came in faith.   This has to cause us to ask, “Why did Jesus say no? Then, why did He later say yes and heal the young girl?

Let’s look at the story.  I believe what I’m going to share with you will revolutionize how you see Jesus and will cause you to have greater faith in His word.

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

If you are like me and read the Bible with an honest heart, this story has to create questions.  The woman asks for healing for her daughter and then Jesus starts talking to her about the lost sheep of Israel.  It’s almost like He was ignoring her.

She asks again and then he basically calls her daughter a dog. Look at verse 26:

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

Pretend you came to me for prayer and I told you it wasn’t good to take the children’s bread and give it to dogs.  You’d probably quit my church – lol.  It’s an offensive statement.  So why did Jesus say it if He is always good?  And what does that reveal about His character?

Before we go further I want to emphasize I believe it is always God’s will to heal.  It’s His nature and it’s part of the atonement (1 Peter 2:24).  The reason Jesus responded to the woman the way He did, didn’t have anything to do with His will for her daughter to be healed.  He told her He couldn’t give the children’s bread (healing) to dogs because of the way she approached Him.

When the Syrophoenician woman approached Jesus, she called Him the Son of David.  Son of David refers to the covenant God made with King David.  This covenant applied to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.  Healing was a part of that covenant.  The healing promise contained in the Davidic Covenant didn’t apply to the Syrophoenician because she wasn’t a Jew.  Jesus couldn’t answer her prayer the way she prayed it because it would have been illegal. 

Essentially the Syrophoenician woman was trying to get in on the benefits of a covenant that wasn’t hers.  It would be like you coming to me and calling me husband to benefit from my health insurance even though we aren’t married.  

So what caused Jesus to heal the girl? His mercy. Verse 27 shows the woman’s cry for mercy:

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

When the woman humbled herself and didn’t demand things of Jesus she wasn’t legally entitled to, His mercy kicked in and her daughter was healed.  I believe this is important for us to understand because if we would focus more on God’s mercy rather than our good works and/or trying to work an angle to get a prayer answered we would see more prayers answered.  

God is a good God and wants to bless us more than we want to be blessed, but He will not violate His word in order to do it. This is illustrated in the story of the Syrophoenician woman.   This should increase all of our faith in how serious God takes His covenant promises.  He will not violate His word so when He makes a promise it will come to pass.  We are in covenant.

And because God is a good God, we can trust in His mercy. His mercy never fails so even in situations where don’t know our covenant promises are, we can depend on His mercy to deliver us.

I want to encourage you to trust in God’s covenant with you and His mercy today!  If you have given your life to Jesus, His promises are your bread. They belong to you and He wants you consume all of them! Jesus really loves you and I believe when we see Him as He really is, we will see ourselves as He made us to be and we will walk out His plan for our lives.  

To learn more about the new covenant, check out this series. To learn more about the story of the Syrophoenician woman, check out this message I taught on the Power of God.

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