[Good to read: Mt 14:13-21 and Mt 15:22-38]
What do you want for Christmas this year? Will some Bread crumbs do?
When did we start asking that first question, thus promoting the present gimme-gimme focus on earthly wishes and cravings rather than on the King of creation visiting tiny humanity to give us what we really need: deliverance from our gimme-gimme attitude?
It’s gotten really bad in 21st century America in general and just as bad in “the church in America.” We think we’ve got it coming: life on a silver platter, served with elaborate garnishes, just like the religious elite of Jesus’ earthly time (Luk 11:43). But one woman then (Mt 15:22)—not the least bit acceptable in the eyes of their clique (Mk 7:26)—saw enormous potential in “Bread crumbs” (Mk 7:28)—one humble but faith-filled woman whose story Matthew sandwiches right between the two accounts of Christ feeding thousands with very little bread and collecting the leftover fragments afterwards—enough to fill twelve baskets (Mt 14:20) the one time and seven (large ones) the other (Mt 15:37)—amazing leftovers!
But that woman’s words are no less amazing. How come she understood what the scribes and religious know-it-alls didn’t? For just as astounding as her positive words are the negative words of those traditionalists who, after Christ had just done the food miracles, demanded from Him a sign (Mt 16:1) that He was Who He claimed to be—a sign like Moses giving the people manna from Heaven (John 6:30-31)!
Jesus told them (as well as His followers) He was the manna come down from heaven (John 6:32-35). And weren’t those multitude feedings and leftover gatherings great enough signs? Would any signs have been enough? What was wrong with these people?
Their traditions (Mt 15:3-6). Their pride. Their greed. Their sense that they deserved special treatment and the best of the goods.
With that in mind, I can see Jesus’ conversation with the Canaanite woman in a whole different Light. The lesson for us to learn lies in her words.
I always wondered why Jesus talked to her in the demeaning way He did. Now I realize that He, knowing every word she would speak beforehand (Ps 139:4) wanted this exchange to take place to demonstrate the enormous potential in an attitude of personal humility coupled with complete confidence in God.
She didn’t need the full, freshly baked loaves. A couple of crumbs from the Bread of Life, cast off by those rejecting Him, would provide all the power necessary to deliver her daughter from a demon. Only a brushed off “crumb” herself in the eyes of the prideful traditionalists, lacking what they considered proper credentials for God’s blessing, yet her understanding of Christ’s capabilities surpassed theirs by light years! Christ made his comments about the little dogs, I believe, solely for the purpose of her significant reply.
She got it! She had it! Those pampered politicians of the religious sector didn’t. And as Jesus said in the parable of the talents (“He that has not, even what he has will be taken away”-Mt 25:29-30), Isaiah said centuries before about bread and prideful hypocrites: that God would take away from them the bread (Is 3:1)!
What God gives is enough—if we will just see God in it! And what He gave in Christ He still gives via His Holy Spirit. So, what do you want for Christmas this year? How about some of that precious Bread of Life come down from heaven? Even the crumbs that get brushed from the hypocrites’ tables, rejected, are packed with powerful potential for the abundant life.