The Shocking Words of Christ

| January 9, 2015


Editors' note: This series analyzes perplexing passages of the Bible. Previously in this series:


It is often said—and rightly so—that Jesus is the hero of every text of Scripture. Yet when we first encounter him in Matthew 15:26, Jesus looks anything but heroic. Instead, it appears that he is failing to be missional, and being entirely rude in the process. Consider the context:[1]

  • Jesus, in “the district of Tyre and Sidon” (Matt. 15:21), is approached by “a Canaanite woman” (v. 22)—a perfect opportunity for cross-cultural gospel witness.
  • The woman implores Jesus to heal her daughter, who is “severely oppressed” by a demon (v. 22). Who could refuse such a request?
  • The distraught mother addresses Jesus with titles that demonstrates respect, awareness of his Jewish heritage, and trust in his power: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David” (v. 22). Jesus’s response is stony silence; he does not speak “a word” to her (v. 23).
  • When the disciples ask Jesus to send the woman away, he says, in essence, “I’m here only for needy Israelites.” He seeks…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-shocking-words-of-christ.