the Disciples of Jesus
The Greek Woman of Canaan: A SyroPhenician Woman
The SyroPhenician Woman's Daughter
Tyre and Sidon, after leaving Gennesaret: Matthew 14:34
||1. After the healing of the demoniac in the Synagogue at Capernaum Mark 1:21
Right after the healing of the Centurion's Servant (Matthew)
After leaving Gennesaret 14:34
|Type of Healing
||Vexation of a Devil
"and behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying Have mercy on me, O LORD, thou son of David; My
daughter is grieviously vexed with a devil. 15:22
The vexation in Mark 7:25 is called an "unclean spirit".
||Have mercy on me, O LORD, thou son of David; 15:22|
After Jesus's response to her, she worships him, shows faith and supplication:
Thencame she and worshipped him, saying Lord, Help me. 15:25
Following Jesus's admonition about the children's bread, she says:
Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their Master's table"
||At first, he does not respond: "...He answered her not a word.".|
Response of Disciples:
And his disciples came and besought him, saying Send
her away; For she crieth after us."
Jesus's eventual response:
"...I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 15:24)
One of the more troubling passages for some is Jesus's further response,:
...It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. (26)
It should be
noted though, that this passage refers not to bigotry, but to the characteristic of pagans of Tyre and Sidon of
perverting the right ways of God. 'Dogs' while used literally was a common term for evildoers and sorcerers (Rev 22:15). It would
have been 'unclean' and out of order to veer off his purpose, unless, by faith, it became purpose. The woman was not
only not Jewish, but her people were immersed in occult/pagan practices that grieved the Holy Spirit and were anathema to God.
|Means of Healing, The Healing
||The spoken word of Christ
"...O woman,great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
Mark 7:29 For this saying go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
|| The healing was immediate: the child was delivered
The child was made whole.
."And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. 15:28..
Mark 7:30 And when she was come to her house she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
|| None directly mentioned, except for the disciples 'aggravation' with the woman's persistent pleading
for mercy. However, directly following multitudes are met for healng on a Mount beside Galilee. Mt 15:29-
|Jesus' or Apostle's Teaching
||The immediate teaching from Jesus is regarding his ministry/purpose for being here, and his showing that
faith makes whole,even before racial status or being of the bloodline of Chosen people. This is not some naive
ecumenism: He teaches that faith makes one the 'child of Abraham' eminently, even above genealogy. One cannot mistake
his disdain for those opposed to God's ways, but it is the woman's humility and faith, which is rewarded with the healing
of her daughter. His words seem harsh out of context, until one realizes that the pure love of God cannot leave
nor accept people in a dissensioned state, but must do what is necessary to bring them into wholeness. |
Jesus teaches though that he is sent "first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"---God never dissents from his
created order: to the Jew first. Jesus and the disciples when they entered a town went always first to the synagogue,
whether they were received or not, even AFTER Pentecost. Why? The Gospel was Jewish good news: their captivity had come
to an end. "Let the children be filled first" Mk 7:27 regarding the living bread, was a mark of sanctity. If God
rewards those opposed to his truth and plan, would that really be love? Would it be love if one rewarded a child
for breaking another child's arm? He had to bring the woman to a point of faith, for her and her daughter to be made whole.He also
declared that He was here before all else to heal the House of Israel, and find the wandering strays as a good shepherd
would necessarily do.
|Implications for Faith
||1. Faith overrides even racial boundaries: not inblind ecumenism, but in the understanding of what the Jews truly are.
2. The Jew, the House of Israel is primary always in God's work and plan.
3. Healing by Christ is imminently intertwined with faith
4. Works of darkness require rebuke
|Cross-references & Other Critical Facts
||Tyre and Sidon were two 'twin cities' which were rich and in need of nothing, but in which some of the worst
sin of Israel occurred and they were rebuked and cursed before the exile into Babylon for slavery and idolatry as well
as gluttonous living. The land itself was the site of the first founded Phenician city, and according to Thompson's was know for beauty, fruits, fertile
plains and may ruins. A tomb of Eshmunazar, the King of Sidonians from the 5th century was found. It was known for its worship
of Ashtoreth (Astarte), Dagon (Esmuno) of Philistine influence, and Baal of Sidon. Thompson's Chain Reference KJVThe
curse of Tyre and Sidon appears to have been fulfilled: an expedition in 1860 found very little in the region. although fragments of
mosaic pavements, and the elegant purple dyed garments of the wealthy and shells were found. Note also that the woman in Mark
is referred to as Greek, in addition, so she was the pristine 'type' of paganism.