In today’s Gospel, Jesus seems unexpectedly brusque.
The disciples however seem rather typically self-serving!
Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’
He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.
Born in Bethlehem he may have been, but here Jesus speaks with the bluntness of a Yorkshireman!
Scholars and others argue, about whether Jesus speak the way he did to check the woman, and put her in her place? Or to provoke her to the display of great faith that he always intended to praise? Who knows?
Either way, she rode the punches and serves us as an example of faith beyond what is common.
- Where has a tough challenge served you well?
Image is of a Rembrandt ink drawing of Jesus and the Canaanite woman.