And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
This account can be a troubling one if it is generalized and one tries to say that salvation is exclusive to the Jews. The words “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs” are confusing if one does not realize that Jesus' mission was first to his countrymen. It is why Paul says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Even so, I must admit that I am so inspired when I read this account of a gentile woman coming to Jesus in behalf of her tormented daughter. It inspires me to press in and pray when answers seem so far away. This woman would not settle for a rebuff from the Lord.. she would not accept no.. she was fearless and bold.. she fought tenaciously for her daughter.. Jesus calls her faith great.. and her daughter was healed.
God help to be bold, fearless, persistent and tenacious when I pray.