27th Feb 2005
Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 15:21-31
Dear and Respected Brethren,
First of all let us think who is a Canaanite. In the Holy Bible we find the term Canaan for the first time as the name of a person in Genesis 9:18 and later it is the name of an area, from Si-don to Gaza, to Sodom west of Jordan. (Refer Genesis 15:18-20, Exodus 3:8, 17, Joshua 3:10.) Canaanite is a general term for all the descendants of �Canaan�. Deuteronomy 7:1. Canaanite also refers to one specific tribe of people in Canaan. See Numbers 13:29, Joshua 5:1, 2 Samuel 24:7.
In verse 21 and 22 we read, �Then Jesus went there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Si-don. And, Behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, you son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.� From this it is very clear that the woman was so sure who He was. It was easy for her to address our Lord as the son of David. That means she was well aware of the prophecies and she had a firm faith in such faiths and traditions. Even though she was a Canaanite woman, she could easily believe Him as the promised one, the real Savior of mankind and she expected blessings from Him. When we read/study the Holy Scriptures, we might get surprised while reading the next sentence. We might doubt why our Lord kept mum. And His disciples had to intercede for her. They said, �Send her away; for she cries after us�. This is real intercession. What else it is? Let the sectarian groups who oppose the intercession of the saints, learn the Biblical truth. If we also cry to our Lord, He will answer our calls. If not answered, the Saints and the ones who could offer intercession would request Lord God to have mercy on us. Let us think why our Lord did not care her and when the Apostles requested him to send her away why our Lord answered as mentioned in verse 24. �I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel�.
First reason for the above mentioned question is theological. Genesis 9: 25-27 stamps a theological significance on �Canaan� from the beginning. Noah prophetically placed this curse on �Canaan�. Ham�s sin was seemed deep rooted in the Canaanites, the descendants of Canaan. The Canaanites are mentioned in Leviticus 18:3, Deuteronomy 7:2-6, I Kings 14:23-24, 2 Kings 16:3-4, 21:1-15. Canaanites became synonymous with religious and moral perversions of every kind. See Zechariah 14:21 and Revelation 21:27. This was well known to our Lord Jesus. That is why he tried to ignore her.
At the same time, our Lord was sure of her deep faith. He wanted to wait till she expressed her faith in the full degree. That is why even after her worship and sympathetic cry He answered �It is not nice to take the children�s bread, and cast it to dogs� (Verse 26). There is a prophecy about the salvation of the entire mankind in the book of Isaiah chapter 56. Kindly read and meditate. Kindly note the mention of the dogs in verse 10 and 11 of the chapter. See what type of dogs are they. Lord Jesus was trying to compare the Canaanite woman to such a dog. And He was sure to get an answer from her and He got it as mentioned in verse 27. This caused Him to say, �great is your faith�.
We all are observing the fasting as per the advice of Lord Jesus to win over the evil spirits, temptations and satanic pressures. How is our faith? Do we keep a sound and solid faith? We must examine the percentage of our faith. It is to be judged by us. When our small kids fall sick, first of all we would pray and wait to see whether there is any positive response from God. If no favorable response is received within next few hours, we will lose our faith in God. We will lose faith in the teachings of the Holy church. And we will forget ourselves. It happens so only because our faith is not so deep-rooted and solid. Let us build up our faith in Lord Jesus. Let us believe that our Lord God is able to grant all our needs whatever they are. If we pray with hope in Him, our prayers would be answered well.
In Verse 29 to 31, we read that our Lord had departed from there and went to Galilee. When our Lord sat on top of the mountain, multitudes had appeared there with different types and kinds of patients including lame, blind, dumb, etc and all of them were healed by Lord Jesus. In verse 31 we find the aultitude praising the God of Israel while noticing the lame walking, blind seeing, etc. We might praise God for the blessings we enjoy. But could we praise God while we watch others enjoying blessings from God. We must train our minds to accept the better condition of our fellowmen.
May God bless us all
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church
Member ID # 0905