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We conclude Jesus and the Canaanite Woman by learning valuable methods to avoid serious misunderstanding of God's Word. 

Jesus And The Canaanite Woman-2

Continued from Jesus And The Canaanite Woman

Religious Context: Israel was the "Holy" nation, through whom God would bless all the nations of the world. By the time Jesus was born, Israel had turned this blessing into a curse, by focusing on how special and "chosen" they were and using it as a point of pride and arrogance. Instead of using their chosen-ness to bless the world, they used it to keep everyone else away. God, on the other hand, had a different plan. Jesus criticized his own people when He said Lk 4:25-27 "I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian." Jesus told them of how God healed Gentiles and ignored Israel. In His story of the "Good Samaritan" Jesus uses a Gentile to show how to follow God's Law for Jews. Israel prided herself as "the Vine" which God chose to bless the world, But Jesus said "I am the vine…" Jn 15 and you become part, not by birth, but by belief (Jn 3). Jesus made it clear throughout the Gospels that Israel would reject Him, and that rejection would lead to a blessing for the Gentiles. This is the religious context in which Jesus says in our story, "I was sent only to help the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep—not the Gentiles." Is there anything in the context of the Gospels that suggests Jesus wasn't entirely serious about helping only Israel?

Gospel Context: It's clear from a reading of all four Gospels that Jesus would not ignore the needs of non-Jews. We've already referenced two events in Jesus' life that happened before today's story, where He ministered to Gentiles; The Centurion (Lk 7) and The Samaritan woman (Jn 4). Even in our current story, if Jesus had been serious about His supposed "racist" comment, He would not have healed the woman's daughter. When we consider the whole history of Jesus' ministry, we can't understand this one statement as one of racism. A good rule for understanding the Bible:

If it's God's Word, it can't contradict itself.

If it seems to contradict itself, we know the error is in our understanding, not in His Word. Look deeper!

Biblical context: Looking deeper into the Word, we find racism being rooted out of the early church, as recorded in much of the New Testament. We also find that Jesus, or God-The Son, was the One through whom creation took place (Col 1:15-17), and that, as Creator, He is Father of all Humans. Ro 10:12 says, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him." How, then, could Jesus, God be a racist? Since He authored the Word, created all of us, rooted out racism at the very beginning of church history and never practiced it anywhere else in the Bible, how could we read this one story and get that Jesus was a racist?

Only if that's what we want to get. That's how. What if we wanted to get something else? What if Jesus was being facetious, sensing the woman could handle it? What if He wanted to teach His disciples a lesson about ministry after they had shunned her and tried to get her to stop bothering them? Wouldn't either explanation be more believable than racism? You can probably think of many more. The explanation isn't as important as our attitude toward God and toward His Word. If we spend the time studying His Word and honoring Him, we will never fall for some false teaching from someone who does neither.

Dear Lord, give us a hunger for more of your Word. Help us find the time to investigate what you are telling us in there. Give us the wisdom to check the things people tell us, no matter what their credentials are, so that we won't be fooled and led away from you. Thank you, Lord.

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