Mattew chapter 15, verses 21-28
Knowing that His time was near, Jesus left Palestine and headed north through Galilee and into the land of the Phoenicians. (Matt.15: 21-28) For the first time in His recorded life He ventured into Gentile territory. He was in search of some down time with His disciples, away from the Scribes and Pharisees, not to mention the crowds that followed Him day after day. He needed to gather His strength and prepare His disciples before making the ultimate gift of self.
His followers were edgy. This was unfriendly, possibly hostile territory. A woman followed along, keeping her distance yet assuring that her presence was felt. Jesus seemed to be ignoring her. Someone, probably Peter who was never happy when out of sight of water, began to lose patience. " Get rid of her. Give her what she wants before we are surrounded by her relatives!' Jesus dismissed this concern, "She is not one of us." They all knew that well enough. Sometimes He could be so frustrating!
How He wished that they would persist and, for the right reasons, ask Him to respond to her plea on behalf of her daughter. They were not likely to do so. They were God's chosen people. They had been raised to speak in terms of "Gentile dogs." He would give them cause to reflect upon the acceptability of their attitude toward Gentiles.
By this time they were all stopped in their tracks. She was kneeling in the dust at His feet. How she had heard of Him and how she had recognized Him, no one knew. Perhaps, like Mary, she had been visited by an angel. Her anguish was tangible, "Lord, help me!"
He responded, as she would have expected any Jew to respond. "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs!" She not only heard His words but saw the slight smile on His face and the compassion in His eyes. He waited for her reply. "Dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table and I ask no more than that."
She took no offence because she instinctively knew that no offence was intended. She answered with a ready wit, sensing that her request was as good as granted. She believed in Him, trusted Him as though she had known Him all her life. Her capacity to love was clearly great as was her openness to goodness and to truth. It all fell into place. Imagine His delight!