We are taught that "silence is golden," but in this story, Jesus' "silent treatment" of the Syro-Phoenecian woman is almost unbearable. Then, when he breaks the silence, His answer is definitely not what we want to hear. Yet it is undeniable that He cares for this woman and her child; He does answer her faith, granting her not only healing, but "whatever she desires". The problem is not that Jesus is not going to respond to our pleas for help, but that He does not always respond when you or I want Him to.
Have you ever felt that God was answering you not a word? Perhaps it is not that He does not want to answer you, but that He does not want to answer you only on your terms. In fact, it seems clear to me from the whole of scripture and human experience, that God greatly desires to show His love toward all humanity — just not necessarily HOW or WHEN you and I may like.
Let's look at this story...
The Little Story
- A woman and child are desperate for help.
- The disciples are annoyed by their need.
- Jesus seizes the opportunity to teach about God’s greater purposes and to reveal the outsider’s amazing faith.
The Big Story
This is a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus, sent to the Jews of the covenant, is being rejected by them.
Although His ministry at this time was to the people of the covenant given through Moses at Sinai, we see a foreshadowing of things to come.
The gentiles, who had no inheritance, were to become the heirs of the covenant given to Abraham — God’s plan of justice, love and mercy and for the world... and God's greater plan begins to manifest itself with this woman, an outsider with great faith.
What It Means for You and Me
Great Faith Actively Seeks ...
No matter what stumbling blocks may be laid before us.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7.7)
Great Faith Humbly Kneels ...
Understands the weakness of our own footing
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3.10)
Great Faith Never Gives Up ...
Perseverance is essential to the life of faith.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (Romans 5.3)
Is God Giving You the “Silent Treatment”?
Persevere — He is very likely drawing you to greater faith.
Before all the Nations
“For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61.11)