45 – Heals Woman’s Daughter
Where: Zarephath, Phoenicia
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Jesus was now 33 years old and he now began a very different journey. Jesus left Galilee and entered into a foreign country. He went to the region of Tyre and Sidon, in “Gentile” Phoenicia, to a small town called Zarephath. He did not go to do a lot of public speaking (his mission was to the Jews). Jesus had received an invitation from some Jews in the town to come and teach. When Jesus and some of his disciples arrived, they were invited to stay in the house of a Jew.
On the Sabbath, as was his custom, he visited the small synagogue. But when he returned to the house and entered the courtyard, a local gentile woman yelled to him, ‘Prophet of the Jewish God, pity me!’ Jesus entered into the house without acknowledging her. Outside she kept calling loudly, ‘Prophet, help me!’
Why did she call Jesus a prophet?
1: He came with disciples; therefore he was at least a rabbi.
2: She had heard rumor of a new prophet in Israel from her Jewish friends.
3: She hoped that this man was that prophet.
Her life was a wreck because her daughter was demon possessed. She had done everything she could to help her daughter, but nothing had worked. Not even Baal (the god of Tyre) had helped. She was desperate to help her daughter but she felt totally helpless.
Once before, in Zarephath, a prophet of the Jewish God had visited. When Elijah had come during a three-year long drought, a local gentile woman, and her husband, had given him shelter. When their son went into repertory arrest, Elijah had brought him back from death’s doorstep. Now here, in front of her, was another representative of the Jewish God. Here was maybe her last chance to get her daughter healed. He would certainly be able to help. He MUST help! “I will not quit asking until he agrees to do something,” she decided.
Again and again she pleaded loudly with the disciples to let her meet with the prophet. Finally she wore them down and a disciple went to Jesus and told him about the loud woman and asked him to help her, “if only to get rid of her”.
Jesus smiled at the disciple’s discomfort, and reminded the disciple that his mission was to the Jews, not Gentiles.
‘I know’, said the disciple, ‘but she won’t stop, or go away’. So Jesus got up and went out into the courtyard.
The disciples let the woman into the courtyard. She came up to Jesus and knelt in front of him. She explained the situation with her tormented daughter and pleaded for him to heal her daughter. ‘Be patient,’ Jesus responded. ‘First I must confront Israel. Permit the children of Israel to be satisfied first. As it is said among the Jews, do not give the children’s food to the dogs. Be patient. It would not be appropriate to take care of you first.’
But she was desperate. To wait for the Jews to change would take forever. Her daughter needed help now! ‘You are correct of course sir’, she responded, ‘but help me anyway, because even the household puppy under the table is permitted to eat what the children ignore.’
Jesus stopped. He thought. He looked at her. He smiled. ‘You are right. You have more faith then the Jews. As of now your daughter is well.’
And it was so.
No questions have been asked yet.