Daily Devotional

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Syrophoenician Woman

Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.     Matthew 15:28

This is possibly the most disturbing story of Jesus’ entire ministry. A foreign woman approached Jesus in hope that he might heal her daughter, and Jesus refused. In fact, in a derogatory fashion he refered to the woman and her daughter as dogs. We don’t like this story because Jesus doesn’t present as the nice, thoughtful, and sensitive man we believe him to be. What Jesus is in this story, however, is human, and that should come as no small blessing to us. Jesus was a real person with real biases, dislikes, and cultural insensitivities—just like us.

The story ends quite differently than it begins. The woman persisted in her request for her daughter’s healing, and Jesus relented and granted the woman her wish. The woman was persistent, and Jesus was moved. What a gift it is to know that Jesus can be moved by us and by our desire for his healing.

If Jesus is moved by us, should we allow ourselves to be moved by others?

Lord, too often I am immovable. I get set in my ways, in my opinions, and in my biases. I am crude in my dealings with people who I perceive as somehow less than I am. However, Lord, you show me the way. You show me that we can be insensitive, and yet we can change. Help me to be moved, help me to change, and help me to be more like you. In your name, I pray. AMEN.