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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Prayer that Prevailed"

February 3, 2005

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Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” Matthew 15:28

Jesus had seemingly rebuffed the Canaanite mother who had asked for His help in behalf of her demon-possessed daughter. He had said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (Matthew 15:26). He meant to say that His time and effort belonged primarily to the Israelites; mostly with them must He share the bread of life.

The implied reference to the heathen as “dogs” is, according to the Greek text softened by the use of a word meaning indoor dogs – little dogs, house pets – in distinction from outdoor dogs roaming the countrysides and city streets. Gross unbelievers are called dogs, as in the passage: “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15).

What Jesus said seems negative, but a yes is implied. In His comments He left Himself open to a rejoinder. His words gave the woman a handle and she was quick to grab it: “Yes, Lord, … but even the dogs [puppies] eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” (Matthew 15:27). The interceding mother is not asking for a great effort on Jesus’ part – not asking the Good Shepherd to withdraw His love from “the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). She will be satisfied with leftovers to which, according to Jesus’ own words, she is entitled.

A prayer of such urgency Jesus could not deny. The Good Shepherd laid down His life also for those “other sheep,” for the Gentiles. He sent His apostles to teach the Gospel to all nations. His heart and ears are open to their prayers, and to ours also.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for all the many blessings You have given me, especially Your greatest gift: Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at

Today's Bible Readings: Genesis 41-42    Matthew 22:1-22

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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