“It’s his nature that provides us with revelatory insights that influence our whole identity and personality.” Graham Cooke
Revelation is heaven’s food for our spiritual nourishment. The Holy Scriptures reveal the full expression of himself that God desires to give us.
Matthew 15:27 records an incident when a Canaanite woman, born outside of the Abrahamic covenant, begged Jesus for the healing of her demon-possessed daughter. At some point the Spirit of God had opened her mind to the reality of God’s beneficence and power to heal. Her request of Jesus reveals the earnestness of her hunger. Recognizing the fact that Jesus was Hebrew and she was not, she identifies herself as lesser in privilege yet willing to get any “crumb” he offered.
At first, he responds to her that he has only been sent to “the lost sheep of Israel”, the children of God who are deserving of his nourishing bread.
But she persists and eventually says, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
This scripture is rich with revelation…insights that communicate to us God’s nature and intents. The two that strike me from this passage are his use of the metaphor “bread” to answer her request for healing. Notable as well are the state of her hunger, her parental need, and her persistence to pursue. These last items can be applied metaphorically to our lives today – the divine hunger to delve into the depths of Scripture in order to encounter God ourselves and see our loved ones encounter him as well. Crumbs provide temporary relief. It’s as if the woman was saying, “If my daughter can just get a day’s reprieve from her oppression, I’ll take it…I’ll take a crumb!” But we know, as a human being, she’d want to full loaf of bread.
We learn much from nature as well as God’s natural laws that govern the functions of life. Physical hunger pangs compel us to eat. I believe that we have spiritual hunger pangs as well that compel us to wonder and to chew slowly on Scripture, savoring each nugget of truth in order for every fiber of our beings to draw from Divine life.
In Matthew 15, Jesus uses the metaphor of food when speaking of healing. But the healing from demonic oppression that the woman’s daughter received was not physical, although I believe we can apply physical healing into this revelation. In this particular story, not just the daughter was healed. The mother was too. Certainly the daughter’s healing within that hour was spectacular for her and those who knew her. However, both mother and daughter received mental and emotional healing, cultural healing and the healing of their identities. Jesus’ answer to the mother’s request and his compliment about the completeness of her belief let her know that God is no respecter of persons when it comes to belief. Christians today understand this because when we are born again we become grafted into the Abrahamic covenant and its enumerable blessings. We get to “belong” based on our “belief”. Every human being is a creation of God. But not all are children of God. Belonging and being accepted by God as his child innately transcend our need for societal and cultural identity. Furthermore, Jesus’ posture – answering her request, giving her attention, ignoring the disciples’ recommendations to send her away, healed her emotionally and mentally.
As a Canaanite, she would’ve been conscious of the stares of the disciples, yet she mentally pushed through because the Holy Spirit had spoken to her that their teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, was different. Both mother and daughter had been encumbered by the sorrow, frustration and fear that the demon-possession brought.
How did the demon possession manifest? This is a point I cannot help to mention. We know from other passages in the Gospels that demons could bring physical and mental and emotional ailments. (Matthew 4:24; Matthew 9:23, Matthew 17:18; Mark 5) It really doesn’t matter whether the daughter had a demonically influenced disease or mental weakness because all of these situations cause great suffering. Nothing is too difficult for God. His “bread” is to give healing.
In another post, I intend to discuss the warrior-like persistence of a woman. The mother did not run away at the disciples’ suggestion. She held on tenaciously to a truth that she knew in her innermost being. Like a mother lion, this woman used the revelation of God’s goodness to pounce on and destroy that which was stealing the fullness of her daughter’s life. This revelation, like raw meat, she held in her teeth and would not. let. go.
God designed a woman’s body to naturally feed her unborn child through the lifeline of the umbilical cord. Revelation is our umbilical cord. The mother first received revelation of God’s desire to heal. Yet she hadn’t received the next revelation that God actually wanted her to have more than crumbs. He gave her what she requested based on the revelation she had received up to that point.
I wouldn’t be surprised that this woman got the next revelation when the Apostle Paul went and preached to the Gentiles. Having tasted the crumbs, the reality that she could receive the whole loaf of bread like the children of Israel would have been her ultimate heart’s desire.
As children of God, have we begun to eat the full loaf of bread – spiritual nourishment – guaranteed to us through salvation? As partakers of the Abrahamic covenant, we have the the right to the full loaf but have we only eaten a few pieces? I’ll shift this metaphor slightly. Let’s be hungry for revelation that we haven’t had yet! Let’s not view God’s Words as a loaf of bread where every piece tastes the same. As we earnestly pursue the written Word we get to know and experience the presence of the living Word, Jesus Christ. After his ascension, Jesus released the Spirit of God to come and be with us and in us. Let’s ask God to whet our palettes with the desire to pursue his mysteries and unanswered questions. Let’s even seek to discover more than the small doses that one Sunday sermon gives! Lord, I want more than crumbs!
Through the Holy Scriptures God tantalizes our spiritual palettes with hints that He is better than the most benevolent human being, He is more beautiful than the setting sun, and He is more faithful than the sunrise. We cannot help but delve deeper and begin to swallow, first passages that are easy for our human understanding to comprehend, then later divine realities that answer our most difficult questions and satisfy our mysterious spiritual longings.
Humankind was created by an uncreated Being whose depths are unsearchable yet who beckons us to search. His nature is soon discovered and as we learn how to interact with him by sitting in silent wonder, singing heartfelt praise or studying his digestible Word, we are changed. We are transformed. (Romans 12) We consent to belong to him — forever a child needing His “revelatory insight”.
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 13:11
Lord, fill us with wonder as we read your Word and sit in your Presence. Let us not be satisfied with all that we’ve learned so far in the Bible, from sermons or through books. Give us the excitement and courage to venture into scriptures that we’ve wondered about. Lead us Holy Spirit to know you – as much as a human being can – in all your glory! Bring us revelation today. We want more than crumbs. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.