There were a few puzzling things in today’s reading. But
most of them can be cleared up by understanding who this Canaanite woman was.
She wasn’t famous or anything that I know of, but she was determined. She was
not a Jew. Jesus saw something in her that he wanted to reward. Let’s break
some of this down.
First of all, she was a Canaanite. She was not Jewish. Jesus’ own statement to his disciples was “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” We could interpret from this that Jesus’ target audience was the Jews needing a savior. The rest of the world would have to wait. The disciples were also distressed by her incessant requests for help. They wondered why Jesus didn’t just send her away. But she persisted. The woman didn’t seem phased by “where she came from” or who Jesus normally healed. She knew without a doubt Jesus could save her daughter from the demons.
I’ve never tried to walk on water. Have you? If Peter can do it, I think we all can–if we have the right mindset and trust. But Peter started to sink, and I’m sure we would, too. I don’t know about you, but I tend to overthink everything. That’s exactly what Peter did. Jesus’ words are ringing in my head, “Why did you doubt me?”
We are all guilty of that doubt from time to time. Our faith can falter with the breeze. If we encounter a stumbling block or even a roadblock in our lives, we tend to seize up and become stuck. We were not promised a trouble-free life. We were promised to never be alone. We were promised to be loved no matter what.
When we have a childlike faith, we can see more clearly. We don’t let the lies of the world get in our way. Interesting that Jesus would call it out right here in his prayer. If it pleased God then, it surely pleases him still today. When we can approach God as a child full of wonder with unlimited trust, we will see and understand more completely.
Think for a second about who you know best, besides yourself. Maybe it’s a parent, a child, or a spouse. You know the deep relationship you have with them. You know what they are thinking and feeling because there is a strong connection. Who better to know God than Jesus and visa versa. Jesus goes a bit further and tells us he will reveal God to those he chooses. Some of us are going to have the honor of having God revealed to us. What does that mean?
Do you need faith to be healed? It seems to be a common theme here. A couple of readings ago it was the faith of friends that healed the man with a mat. Today, the synagogue leader displayed great faith. He knew Jesus could bring his dear daughter back to life. Jesus has done many miraculous things, but we don’t hear of him raising people from the dead all that regularly. This leader’s faith was there despite not having seen an eyewitness account.
And what did you think about the woman who merely touched his clothes? That was crazy faith to think she could be healed without a touch from Jesus. But she was healed, and Jesus knew that his power had been called upon. He recognized her great faith and she was healed on the spot.
Friends like that are a treasure. The life of the paralyzed man changed that day in a big way because of his friends. You might wonder what happened before the men carried their friend to Jesus. Perhaps the paralyzed man had never seen Jesus healing other people because he wasn’t able to get around. Would he have doubted his friends who obviously had seen Jesus’ miraculous work? They were sure that Jesus could help their friend. Jesus could see their faith.
Then it got a little dicey. Jesus simply said to the man, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven.” Well, that would have been quite a statement. God is the only one who can forgive sins. Who did Jesus think he was? The teachers of the law in the crowd were mumbling among themselves. Jesus knew their hearts, too. He called it out almost as quickly as their opposition began to grow.