Of the various stories told of Jesus’ encounters with women – Mary of Bethany, the woman at the well, Mary at the tomb – my favorite is the story of the Gentile woman. I can identify with her. I am not a Jewish woman and this Gentile woman speaks for me.
You know the story. Jesus, for reasons unknown, decides to take off one day and go visit a Gentile village. When he gets there, he meets a woman who pleads with him to heal her daughter. We don’t know the age of the daughter, nor what her particular ailment was. We don’t know if this mother is married, or a widow, or if she was ever married.
What we do know is that she saw an opportunity and she took it.
She wanted something for her daughter and she had heard that this man could make it happen. Jewish men, or Gentile men either, for that matter, did not speak to women in public. But here was this mother getting right up and personal with Jesus and pleading for her daughter.
At first he said no. He said that he had been sent to the people of Israel. She reasoned with him. He said something about giving the food to the dogs (Gentiles had been called dogs), and she told him that the dogs got to eat the same food that the people sitting at the table ate. It was crumbs, but it was the same food they put into their mouths.
There is a common theme seen whenever women talk with Jesus. They argue! They talk back! They ask questions. But most importantly, they don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
That is what I want you to do. I want you to stand up and speak up! I want you to not give up. Don’t take ‘no’ for answer.