During a recent early morning prayer and devotional time, the Lord began talking to me about Breaking Protocol. Before you decide that I am promoting some kind of rebellion, please stick with me. I want to take you through a portion of scripture today, found in Matthew 15:21 – 28.
The scene unfolds with Jesus and His disciples traveling to the region of Tyre and Sidon when a Gentile woman approached them. In all of her desperation, she cries out to Jesus saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
Let’s pause right here and talk about a couple of things:
- This was a Gentile Woman, which means she was simply born into the wrong family. She had no right to ask for something that belonged to the children of Israel.
- The level of revelation this woman had about Jesus exceeded that of the religious leaders and possibly some of His disciples. She called Him “Lord”, which meant she believed He had the Spiritual authority to grant the very thing she asked for. Later, she calls Him “Master” which leads us to conclude that she was also giving Him authority over her own life.
As we continue moving through the story, we discover how Jesus and His followers responded to her:
- The first response included Jesus ignoring her. That’s right, not one word to answer her!
- The second response comes from the disciples, they urge Jesus to send her away. Her desperate crying out must have been an annoyance to them. I wonder how the story might have been different if the disciples allowed the cry for help to move them beyond what was acceptable?
- The third response comes from Jesus again. This time He flat out rejects her and says, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Wow! She was ignored, treated like some annoyance that needed to be shooed away, and rejected because of who she was. I wrestled with this for a little while, because I am a mother and I can’t possibly imagine the desperation deep within her soul at this point, and the humiliation she experienced in the midst of it all. However, when we take a step back and see the big picture, it’s clear: “Breaking Protocol” does not bother Jesus. I can’t help but wonder if this woman somehow knew Jesus Christ had also come to rescue her. Maybe she knew the prophecies, maybe she had a gut instinct about it all, or maybe she simply understood that this man was her only hope.
Here is what we know for sure… Her Response!
Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
Did you catch the full scope of what just happened? The desperation inside of this woman trumps her perceived rejection, and she responded with worship! I called this a “perceived” rejection because the truth is this:
The tough responses and questions we receive from Jesus have one purpose, and that is to refine our faith in the fire of testing.
His statement to the Gentile Woman was, “I am not here for you and the time for your people has not come yet.” However, I believe the underlying question was, “How far will your faith take you?” Do you remember a similar scenario with Jesus at the wedding, when they ran out of wine? His mother “Broke Protocol” when she took the initiative to launch Jesus into the outward working of signs and miracles. He told her it was not his time, but she told the servants to simply do what He said and water was turned into wine. Again, was Jesus wondering how far her faith would take her? Was she willing to lay it all on the line and look like a fool if He did not come through? So many times we allow resistance and rejection to stunt the growth of our faith. At what point do we respond to it all with WORSHIP! Pure and simple, single-focused, worship?
Surely Jesus responds to her worship?
If we did not already find ourselves in a state of shock and awe by the three previous responses, then this one might be the topping on the cake! Scripture says this time He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” What I find even more unbelievable, than her being compared to a four-legged mutt, is her argument.
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”
It was at this point in the story where I fell to my knees, so keenly aware that I have been granted a place at the table with the King of Kings. At the same time asking myself this hard question, “Would you still be desperate enough to ask for the scraps falling on the floor?” This was my honest answer, “Yes, I am Lord…but if I am not, take me back to that place of desperation.”
It was only by her great faith that Jesus says, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
It is defined as an official procedure or system of rules. If we are not careful, the awareness of desperation which draws us into making an audacious move toward Christ and His purpose for our life will be snuffed out by the procedures we believe must be followed. Two weeks ago Jesus whispered, “Nicki, sometimes you have to break the protocol.” Five days ago Jesus shouted, “Nicki, your faith will only grow through the resistance, BREAK PROTOCOL IF YOU MUST!”
I guess the key to all of this is our motive. This Gentile Woman simply believed Jesus was her Hope and Salvation. She was willing to put herself into a place that she did not belong and ask for something she did not have a right to; all to save the daughter that she loved. When we look at this story and the exchange between Jesus and His mother at the wedding, we find that breaking protocol releases miracles! At some point desperation must lead us beyond the comfort zone and passed the rejections – it is at this point you may hear: “Great is your faith, let it be as you desire.”
What are you desperate for today?
May that desperation lead you to your miracle…
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