Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3217

Jump Start # 3217

Matthew 15:25 “But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’

  Our verse today are the desperate words of a mother. Her child was gravely stricken. She knew it wasn’t an illness. The child didn’t have a disease. No, the poor child was cruelly demon possessed, as Matthew puts it. What is remarkable about this is that these people were Gentiles. Canaanite is how the text defines her. Other places states that she is of the “Syrophoenician race.” She wasn’t Jewish.

  There are three things this Gentile mother understood. First, she knew her daughter was possessed. Demons didn’t enter just Jewish people. Second, she knew Jesus could help her. How she knew about Jesus we are not told. Could it have been from the demon possessed man in Mark five? That story takes place in the country of the Gerasenes, which was Gentile. Jesus told that man to go home and tell your people what the Lord had done. Word spreads. Very easily this mother heard about it. Third, she knew she needed help. Chicken soup and a wet wash cloth wasn’t going to fix things. Only Jesus could help. She found Jesus and was persistent, crying, as our verse tells us, “Help me.”

  Now, several lessons for us:

  First, the miracles of Jesus surround people who were desperate, helpless and hopeless. We don’t see Jesus finding lost dogs, even though I expect some dogs were lost back then. Jesus wasn’t helping someone make the team, get better grades, find a mate, or improve their looks. Those are all things that we can do something about. What Jesus did was help those who could not help themselves. Leprosy. Blindness. Crippled from birth. Dying. Dead. Demons. Hopeless and helpless situations. That’s what Jesus did.

  Sometimes we forget those lessons. We want Jesus to do everything. I remember as a kid playing left field in baseball, I’d pray that no one hit a ball out my way. Some pray for passing grades. Some pray to find a parking lot space close to the store door. But when I look at that list, those are all things that we can take care of ourselves. If not careful, we have Jesus doing everything. We have a role and a responsibility. When the last Amen is said, we are not finished with our responsibilities. We pray for the sick to get better. After the amen, we ought to check in on them and see if we could take some food to them. We pray for the church to grow. After the amen, we need to be inviting and shinning our light. We have a role and we need to do our part.

  Second, there are things that we cannot fix. No matter how hard we try, the problems are greater than we are. The problems are so complex that it is beyond us to know where to start. There are some problems that have been around longer than we have. We must admit that only God can fix some things. We must turn those problems over to God and patiently allow the Lord to solve them in His time. There is no ceiling to what God can do. However, there are definitely ceilings and limits to what we can do. We are limited by time, ability, knowledge and geography. God isn’t. Knowing this and admitting this will make us turn things over to the Lord in prayer. When we don’t, we act as if we can fix any problem. We cannot. Our attempts not only fail, but they can make matters worse.

  Third, as this mother in our passage, there are moments in our lives when the best prayer is nothing more than, “Lord, help me!” Prayers do not have to be long to be effective. Prayers do not have to check off everything item that we can think of. Three words, that’s all she said. A three word prayer that Heaven heard and moved the heart of God. I expect it wouldn’t go over too well if one of us prayed on Sunday morning, “Lord, help me,” and then we sat down. Most would wonder what was going on. Many would think something terribly wrong was with us. I don’t think this is a good model for public prayer, but it may work mightily in our private prayers. Lord, help me—I could see a young parent praying that. Lord, help me—I could see a shepherd praying that before he went to have a tough conversation with someone. Lord, help me—could be said by all of us after we have allowed Satan into our hearts. He knocked and we invited him in. Now, sin and a mess has taken place. Like this mother, we now are desperate, helpless and hopeless. Sin doesn’t just go away. Sin doesn’t evaporate. There is no statue of limitations on sin. Lord, help me.

  Fourth, this mother knew that she needed Jesus. She cried out to Jesus. The disciples wanted to send her away. Jesus told her that food isn’t given to dogs. That was not an insult. It was an explanation. Mama doesn’t cook a meal and feed the dogs first. The dogs, if they get anything, it is the left overs. She understood that. She wasn’t asking for a plate at the table. She never said that she was just as good as any of the Jews. She only asked for crumbs. The crumbs are enough. The crumbs will heal her child. What faith. The Lord was impressed. He marveled. It was a “wow” moment for Jesus.

  Do we recognize that we need Jesus? Are we persistent? Are we fighting for all we have to get to Jesus? She did. Does our faith even draw the attention of Jesus? Does He notice?

  A mama fighting for her daughter. Great lessons for us.