Saturday, February 6, 2010

Testimonies to Jesus as Messiah

Hope for Healing

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the coming of the Messiah, our Savior, in our devotional reading, Isaiah 42:1-9. It begins with our Father God describing the character of Jesus as meek and lowly and gentle and kind, seeking the conquest of truth. He is a light to the Gentiles to open the eyes of the blind and to be pledge of the covenant between the Father and the Jews. In Matthew 15, we see Jesus as the Master Teacher and Healer. Prior to our printed text at verses 21-28, He was criticized by the Pharisees and scribes because the disciples did not wash their hands to eat bread. He taught that it is not what goes in the mouth to the stomach that defiles a man but what comes out the mouth from the heart that defiles a man. This brings us to our printed text. Jesus and his disciples left Gennesaret and were on the coasts of Tyre and Sidon when He was approached by a Canaanite woman. She was Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, a Gentile. Though she was a Gentile she owns promises made to the Jews. She had heard of the Son of David and she cried in all sincerity to the Lord for mercy on herself. We know not what the total situation was, only that her daughter was grievously vexed with a devil. Jesus answered not a word. He had a simple respect for the heart of this woman. This was her first test. When Jesus did not answer, the disciples asked Him to send her away for she was crying for assistance from them. She was persistent. Jesus spoke, but he did not speak encouraging words. He answered by saying He was only sent to help the lost sheep of Israel, the Jews. Was she disheartened to hear Jesus state he only caters to the Jews? No, she began to pray and worship Him. She was even more persistent in requesting His help. Jesus then spoke again to discourage her, still testing her faith. He responded that He could not take the children's bread and give it to the dogs. In the Jewish culture, dogs were able to get scraps from the table. So the woman responded that it was "truth," meaning she knew her position, but even dogs eat crumbs which fall from their Master's table. Looking at this another way: the promises were for the children of the kingdom, but if I can get just a crumb from the table I know there will be a healing. Have mercy on me. The woman had much wisdom, humility, meekness, patience, and persevered in prayer in order to have much faith. Jesus answered her and said her faith was great. Her request for mercy was granted and her daughter was made whole that very hour.

Submitted by Deborah Davis

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