The Devotion to Christ – To get a real God, we must give up our false ones

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By Brian Cook

The Canaanite Woman passage found in Matthew 15:21-28 is one of those places in Scripture where we rush to defend Jesus. Who am I to defend God? Jesus uses a cruel racial slur to rescue His disciples from a soul-killing sin.

Jesus had just taught what does and does not defile a person. He was revealing the wickedness that can lie within the human heart and was about to go toe-to-toe with one of the foulest evils that has ever plagued the heart of humanity.

In the Woman at the Well story, we saw the shock of the disciples at Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman alone. In that story, Jesus deals it a death blow to sexism and kills its power in the hearts of His true followers.

In the Canaanite Woman story, however, we see racism come front and center. Jesus takes a shocking tact, echoing His disciple’s hearts, to crush this demonic influence.

While begging for her daughters healing, a God-fearing Canaanite is completely ignored by the Lord. He has not one word of compassion to offer, much less healing for the poor girl. The woman’s begging continued to the point where His disciples started begging Jesus to send her away. They had watched Jesus heal others, but not one disciple interceded for her daughter. No compassion whatsoever was displayed, just annoyance. How could this be?

Common for this time, the Jewish disciples viewed this Canaanite not as a woman in need of a Savior with a daughter in need of healing, but rather as an animal needing to be shooed away. This was a real struggle in the hearts of His disciples. Jesus saw that this was the moment to deal the death blow to racism in the hearts of those who would follow Him. This was the time to dismantle the wall of separation that could limit the spread of the Gospel.

Jesus says to the woman, “I only came to the Jews” and “wait your turn, let them be filled first.” I’m sure the disciples loved that response and hoped the woman would leave. Instead, she presses in toward this Jew that had just pushed her away. Jesus presses in as well, saying, “It is not right to take children’s bread and feed it to dogs.” This revealed the heart of His disciples.

Think about that – she, a Canaanite woman, is surrounded by a group of Jewish men that are annoyed by her and look down upon her entire race and call them dogs. I’m sure their body language said the same. No doubt Jesus eyes spoke differently than His words, as the woman was being drawn to Him (John 6:44).

To get a real God, we must give up our false ones. The Canaanite Woman, who hated Jews and the names they called her, had to lay down her own pride to receive the Savior and Heaer, and she does! Thank God for this woman! She had seen the torment of her daughter under the power of a demon; it is a picture of the torment of a racist soul. Humbly she says the most “poor in spirit” words ever spoken: “Even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.”

Please note the outrageous humility that precedes a miracle of Christ. How can the disciples hate a woman who humbles herself to The Master, just as they did? Think of the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10. Does Peter remember this day when He visits Cornelius in Acts 10?

I imagine it was a profound yet quiet moment. All the demonic noise was silenced. If I know Jesus, He allowed His disciples a moment for their hearts to break and recognize their own pride. They started to see a sister, and they themselves were humbled. I like to think that there were many tears shed that day as the back of this evil was broken forever by the Gospel of God. And to prove that “the Son of Man has the power on earth” to remove racism from our very souls, “her daughter was made whole that very hour.” And having made room, Jesus’ beloved children can now love the Lord their God with all their soul.

Brian Cook is a Cropwell native and a graduate of Pell City High School, Gadsden State Community College and studied music and history at Jacksonville State. He and his wife Hope have five children. A self-described “on-again-off-again bi-vocational part-time” Protestant minister for almost 20 years, Brian converted to Catholicism in April 2021. They attend Saint James Catholic Church in Gadsden. With no formal training (Acts 4:13), Brian active in the Catechetical training of children and adults. His book “The Devotion to Christ” can be found on Amazon. He is available for speaking and teaching engagements in any parish, church, or group setting. He may be contacted at thedtc@protonmail.com or thedevotiontochrist@gmail.com.

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