Further Out Still

Michael Wilcock

READ : Matthew 15:21-28

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v. 24)

Again no names, simply the fact that this Canaanite woman and her daughter were not Israelites. “Lost sheep,” no doubt, but (said Jesus) not the kind that he came to save!

This was not a brush-off but a test, spoken with tongue in cheek. And the woman took it that way. When so great a power came in contact with so great a need, she reasoned, it must be for some good purpose.

Jesus came to his own people first, so that through them the same salvation might then reach every other people—to all who were outsiders, like these two Canaanites. He who had offered life to a Samaritan woman and brought healing to a Roman centurion’s house, who cured a tormented man in a community that was so un-Jewish as (shock! horror!) to keep pigs, had for the first and only time in his adult life “gone abroad.” As in due course his gospel would.

If salvation was the ultimate object, this woman’s faith told her, might she not enjoy a foretaste of it now? The “dogs” would be fed after the meal anyway, she argued; surely they would not be grudged scraps that might fall from the table during it?

“Done!” said Jesus delightedly; and it was.

PRAYER

Thank you for every lost soul in whom you have awakened faith.