Matthew 15:21-28 NIV
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”  Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
This is a curious passage with Jesus seemingly dismissing and insulting the woman (‘dog’ was a term used to refer to Gentiles by the Jews at this time). It seems as if he saw his mission as being primarily towards the Jews as God’s People. Could it be that the faith of this Gentile, her recognition of her absolute dependence on him for her daughter, helped him grasp his wider calling towards the whole world? Did Jesus have to grow in his understanding of God’s Will and his part in his mission as we do?
Father, help us to mature in our faith and mission through being open to hear from you through prayer, the Bible and even the world around us – may we be prepared to be surprised!