CHAPTER 7: FOCUS ON GOD’S GREATER PLAN
“Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
“And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Jesus always has the greater plan of God the Father in mind as He moved through His life and focused on His ministry. When He taught, it was in line with God’s purposes. When He healed, it was in line with God’s purposes. Matthew 15:24 records for us that Jesus understood He had a limited amount of time to establish His Kingdom in Israel and then He would die for our sins.
A non-Israelite woman approaches Him for healing for her daughter. Why the Resistance from Jesus? Why did He almost turn her away? It was because He was focusing on God’s greater plan. He is focused on the People of God. Yet, because she is humble, believes in Him, and is quite witty; He heals.
Even in doing this Jesus was not out of character with God (as God). Though God set Israelites apart to be His people, He has always shown mercy in Scripture to those who are humble and put faith in Him. God honored faithfulness to His people. Who? Rahab. Naaman. Ruth.
Yes, it is not hard to read between the lines in this chapter and see Jesus’ true person and His interactive goal with people. The Bible is in fact written to point them out. When we read of Jesus being resistant to people, it may feel “off” to us, but what is revealed in people is always the focus. The woman’s faith in Jesus is revealed. Additionally, it is always Jesus’ focus to be about the Father’s will and completing what He was sent to do. He was not to be neglectful or heartless in pursuit of that grand plan and will of God.
This chapter also shows that Jesus likely tried to not draw to much attention to Himself in terms of a miracle worker. He did not want to become a sideshow circus. He had too much work to do for that. At times, due to God’s granter plan for His life (and His death), He attempted to avoid the crowd. Time and time again we see Jesus reveals His compassion before His own personal needs as long as they do not pull Him away of His Father’s task.
In Sidon, we see a good example of such compassion, but also done in a way that points out how He tried to get people to receive from Him without causing a disruption in the larger task at hand. He took the man aside.
Told him to say nothing. The idea here is “big picture kingdom ministry” over “street evangelism.” Jesus had the future in mind. He had to bring forth God’s kingdom. Later followers would merge those two efforts into one later.