God wants to help you
Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2023
By R.A. Tea Mathews
Needs. We all have them.
It might be the need for better health, financial freedom, someone to love, something for your child, or another matter entirely.
Email newsletter signup
Jesus said, “What person is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9)
God wants to help you.
Yet Jesus called the crowds who came to Him “dull,” quoting Isaiah.
“For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear…”(Matthew 13:14-15)
Did the crowds come to hear Jesus or for the show? Did they want to know God or to see miracles?
So, Jesus spoke to them, those who weren’t listening, in parables. When I teach or preach, I ask questions for the same reason.
Take, for instance, Jesus’ trip to Tyre and Sidon, an area that wasn’t distinctly Jewish. Why go there?
Moreover, it was situated on the Mediterranean Sea, several days journey from Galilee. If Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews, what motivated Him to make this long trip?
Some say He needed rest.
Again, why go “there”?
The people of Tyre and Sidon were already coming to Him in Galilee, and they didn’t leave Him alone when He arrived in Tyre. In fact, a woman seemed to have appeared immediately, screaming for help.
So, why go there?
Perhaps she was the reason. Who was the woman?
- She touched his cloak.
- She heard Jesus.
- She was at the well.
- She was named Mary Magdalene.
Make your choice. Here’s the passage.
“And a Canaanite woman … began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely demon-possessed.’ But He did not answer her with even a word. And His disciples came up and urged Him, saying, ‘Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us!’”
The disciples couldn’t take it any longer. But, instead of asking her to leave, Jesus spoke to her:
“He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ Yet He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:22-26)
Jesus was saying, “Nope, not for you. Sorry.”
Or was He?
Matthew left out Jesus’ most important words. According to Mark’s Gospel, what else did Jesus say to her:
- “Let the children be satisfied first…”
- “Mary, your sins are forgiven…”
- “Repent and believe!”
- “Bring me a drink of water.”
Make your choice. Here’s the passage:
“Now Jesus got up and went from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know about it; and yet He could not escape notice.
“But after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman … repeatedly asked Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, ‘Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’” (Mark 7:27)
Do you see the difference?
Look again at Matthew’s version.
He left out how Jesus began: “Let the children be satisfied first…”
Why is that important?
It’s a beautiful moment. Jesus is telling her how to answer Him!
And what did the woman do?
She had ears to hear. She heard Him.
Jesus said, “Let the children be satisfied first…” and the woman realized she could ask for what was left.
“…she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.’” (Mark 7:27-29)
And Jesus healed her child.
The correct answer to the first question is No. 2, the woman who heard Jesus.
Ask God for what you need. He will always give you an answer.
For the woman in Tyre, she longed for her child to be well. Your request may be completely different.
Believe and pray.
Those who don’t believe will stop praying. Those who don’t have faith won’t pay attention: They won’t listen, won’t hear, won’t understand.
They will miss their blessing.
The faithless have ears to hear but do not hear, as dull as the crowds who surrounded Jesus.
Your belief is everything; staying with God is all-important.
Some will object: What if the prayer is for something God doesn’t want?
The Lord will let you know. But don’t give up. Don’t decide for God.
Hear what He has to say to you.
The Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a newspaper faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Hello@RAMathews.com to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.
Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.