“Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him,saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said,“I was not sent except to the lost sheep OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”
In Part 3 we saw that, in His first coming, Jesus was sent to minister to THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, not that it was His only reason, but it was #1. This is critical to understand if you’re serious about learning how to rightly divide. It’s also important to know that, though all of scripture is profitable “FOR US,” not all of it was written “TO US: The non-Jewish Church”
Perhaps we can think of it this way: Suppose you overheard your boss correcting a coworker. Now, you would understand that he is not speaking “TO YOU;” yet what was being said can be of benefit “FOR YOU.” It might either help you correct your own conduct or procedures or be more understanding of your fellow worker. In any case, you would benefit, though the boss was not addressing you at all.
Scripture is much the same way. Those things that are not speaking TO the non-Jewish Church can be helpful in understanding our saved counterparts, former Jews who are now born again believers. But if you don’t know how to rightly divide the word, you’re liable to misunderstand and misapply scripture that isn’t written TOyou. This can lead you down a path that is going in the wrong direction.
Two chapters come to mind that have long been stumbling blocks for the Church: Hebrews 6 & 10. The entire book was written TO Jewish believers, hence the name of the book. It addressed certain problems that affected them back in the first century. Down through Church history, there have been well-meaning pastors that misunderstood these chapters and even lead their people to believe they could do something so bad, they might lose their salvation. THAT CAN NEVER HAPPEN, CHURCH!!! FEAR NOT.
These chapters will be covered in greater detail in part 16 of this series.
The SyroPhonecian Woman.
Jesus brought salvation to the entire world, which had been His intention from the very beginning. By turning away from Israel, temporarily, and turning back TOthe Gentiles, His hope was to provoke Israel to jealousy so that she would return and seek Her own Messiah. AFTER Israel fully rejected Jesus, God turned back to the Gentiles, a topic we will be covering in greater detail greater in part 9.
The story of the Canaanite woman below so clearly demonstrates His primary mission. Remember her? This was the woman who’s daughter was demon possessed. She came to Jesus pretending to be a Jew by calling Him “Jesus, Son of David.” However, this is a phrase that only Jewish people can use, being children of Abraham. She called Him that thinking, if she pretended to be a Jew, Jesus would deliver her daughter. But no one can pretend before Jesus. He knew who she was and said to her, “I was not sent except TO THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL.”
He also said to her, “Let the CHILDREN FIRST BE FED,” children meaningthe Jews. But…..”Then she came, fell at His feet, and worshiped Him, saying,‘LORD HELP ME!” Wonderful things happen when you humble yourself and fall at Jesus’ feet. It touches His heart like nothing else!
You see, she knew Who He was. She knew His heart of loving kindness. Even though His response to her was, “It is not good to take the CHILDREN’S BREAD (healing) and throw it to the little dogs.” But she responded, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs (puppies) eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, GREAT IS YOUR FAITH! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.’”(Matthew 15:24-28)
As soon as she stopped pretending, humbled herself, and took her place as a “dog,” so to speak, everything changed! Jesus’ responded to her in that way to test and see if she had indeed stopped pretending. He knew she had been pretending to be a Jew and He did all this to help her be honest with Him. No doubt she could see love and acceptance in His eyes. She knew He wanted to heal her daughter! I can just see Him smiling at her from ear to ear at her when she came clean. He was completely amazed by her faith and humility!
Bear in mind, she was a Gentile. Beyond that, she was also a Canaanite, that cursed race of the Old Testament! But she got her miracle, didn’t she?
Isn’t Jesus wonderful? He healed her daughter, even though it wasn’t time yet to deal with the Gentiles!
Promises to Keep.
The Father had specifically sent Him to earth to fulfill all the promises that had been made to the fathers, meaning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This Gentile woman’s faith, however, captured both His attention and, above all, His heart. That is why He gladly granted her request and gave her the miracle for which she had come seeking.
Can you imagine what the Jewish people of her day were thinking? Bet more than a few were very jealous! But THAT’S MY GOD!!! What an amazing story!
This woman came to Jesus went ahead of her dispensation, meaning it was not time for God to deal with Gentiles yet. Yes, the time would soon come when God would begin reaching out to them, just not yet. He had not yet shed His blood. There was still much to do in ministering to His earthly family; the Jews. But because of His heart of love for this woman who so humbled herself, He went ahead to her dispensation and pulled that blessing back just for her, because a woman of great faith had spoken.
If you wish to continue this series, please follow the link below to part 5 and learn how, but more importantly WHY, Jesus’ ministry quite suddenly changed:
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