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.”
Matthew 15: 21 – 22
Jesus’ preaching earlier in Matthew 15 had stirred up the area, and he travelled away to a region which is now in Lebanon, north of modern Israel. The cities of Tyre and Sidon were on the Mediterranean coast, and they were occupied by Phoenicians, pagan people who had been sailors since prehistoric times. The Bible speaks of these people as Canaanites, descended from the early occupants of the area.
So far, Jesus’ ministry had been to the Jewish people, but this encounter with a foreign woman is really important. It’s also mentioned in Mark’s gospel. The woman has heard of him and she longs for healing for her daughter, and she has faith that Jesus can and will heal. Here we see the start of Jesus’ ministry to Gentiles, the beginning of the church, in a foreign woman pleading for her child. We are that woman – we can approach Jesus because of her, we can ask for his blessing and healing for ourselves and others, although we are not Jewish, because of her.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your love and compassion for all in the world. Thank you for your grace to us. We pray for your healing for all those we know who need it. Amen
Action: think about areas in your life that might need healing, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Pray for healing and keep a diary of the results.