Just a Crumb
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”
Matthew 15:21-28 NIV
To some this will be a bold statement but here it is—I’m not too particular about religion. I know most of us grew up claiming a denomination, and there’s nothing wrong with that; However, with age, the many rules bother me. It makes God seem complicated. Or like we have to fit into a box to be saved. I’ve learned that God’s true focus is the state of our faith. Not how well we follow the principles of our religion.
Let me explain why.
Jesus was a Jew. He was in the region of Tyre and Sidon, Gentile cities, to save the “lost sheep of Israel.” Who was that? The Israelites who had settled there, and began worshipping the gods of the Gentiles. The woman is a Canaanite. By tradition, she would be polytheistic as well, and would not have been taught about the Israelites’ God. Yet, in the text she says, “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
How would she even consider Him to be Lord? She must have heard about the many miracles of Jesus, and had faith that one encounter with Him would save her daughter.
Listen to the the disciples, though. They said, “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Us? Ain’t that something how religious people will band together like they own God! Like they get a say so in your salvation! This is how we get churches shunning people, or the ones who don’t allow you to partake in communion unless you’re their denomination. She wasn’t coming after them. She was coming for Jesus! Don’t ever let a person send you away, when they can’t heal you anyway!
She persisted, “Lord, help me!” He responded, “it is not right to take the Children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” She said, “yes it is, Lord. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table.”
Look at her faith! He came there to give bread, God’s words, to the lost sheep of Israel. She was fine with that. She just needed a crumb of it! Why? Because what’s in the bread is also in the crumb!
How did He respond to her? “Woman, you have great faith!”
So what if you don’t fit a religion. If you messed up more times than you can count. This passage teaches us that God is more concerned with the state of our faith. Religion can sometimes make us comfortable with faith being a noun. Like we can just go to church and pray, and God will bless us. This passage teaches us that faith is a verb. We must be willing to be radical. To cross lines for our blessing!
“For God so loved the world…” Not the church. She stepped over her religion and His, and Jesus broke a rule to bless her. He will break them to bless you, too. Will you step over your rules and ask Him?
This message was inspired by Bishop T.D. Jakes’ sermon entitled “Faith That Crosses a Line.” You can listen here