How Faith Helps Us To Handle An Offense
"Then the disciples came and said to Jesus, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?'" Matthew 15:12
This chapter seems to prepare us for the inevitability of four things. It prepares us to know that at some point Jesus will offend us, His words will offend us, His disciples can be offended by others or His disciples will offend other people. When this happens, and it will, how will we respond?
At the beginning of this chapter the scribes and the Pharisees are offended when the disciples don't wash their hands when they eat (1-2). Then the Pharisees are offended when Jesus speaks to them about this (3-12). Then the disciples are offended by a Canaanite woman who is following them while crying out for mercy (21-23). Finally, Jesus' response to this woman seems offensive to most when He compares this woman to a dog (24).
In all of these interactions it appears that the one who could have been the most offended responded the best - the Canaanite woman. Therefore Jesus says to her, "O Woman, great is your faith!"
So, since offenses will come, how can we respond like this woman? We live in a world where we are offended by virtually everything we see and hear. Why is this? Why was this woman praised for her response and no one else? Simple, she had great faith. Her faith allowed her to respond well to Jesus' words and this entire situation.
What is the sign of a weak faith in Matthew 15? Is it not offense, impatience, judging, intolerance.
What is the sign of great faith? Is it not seen in a woman who called out to Christ persistently even when he remained silent. Faith is seen in this woman who did not run away when she was spoken harshly too. Faith is seen in this woman who humbled herself in word and deed before the Lord and before His disciples (25-27).
Let us not seek to offend. But let us prepare our heart for all of these offenses by having hearts full of faith. Because offenses will come.