Recently I received a question to answer for GotQuestions.org:
‘Why did Jesus resist healing the Gentile Canaanite woman’s daughter (Matthew 15:22-24, 26) and yet healed the Centurion’s servant without hesitation (Matthew 8:5-7)?’Male, 46-55, North America, Christian
I am currently reading this fascinating book that was given to all the men during our annual Men’s Retreat. It is A.W. Tozer’s three classics in one volume: The Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, and, God’s Pursuit of Man. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I think it would help you in the understanding of this.
The Knowlege of the Holy takes a deep dive into God’s attributes; at the very least the ones we as mere humans can understand. Tozer not only writes about how God is omniscient, omnipotent, and so on; but he gets into the faithfulness of God, the goodness of God, the justice of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, and the sovereignty of God. The most incredible thing about all of this is that none of the attributes contradict each other at any time – they actually complement one another. Tozer writes,
“The goodness of God is not the same as saying He is righteous or holy…The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.”Tozer, A. W. A. W. Tozer: Three Spiritual Classics in One Volume: The Knowledge of the Holy, the Pursuit of God, and God’s Pursuit of Man. Moody Publishers, 2018, Pg 141, 142
I for one cannot speak for Jesus, or to question why He hesitated healing one person over another; why He chose to let a righteous man like Job suffer at the hands of Satan; why He waited forty years to heal a man when He could have healed him instantly.
Sometimes Jesus does and says things to get us to a better result than just healing. He wants us to come to a better understanding of faith. Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant quickly because he came to the right understanding of faith quickly. With the gentile woman, Jesus had to draw it out of her a little bit, but He still healed her. Israelites called gentiles dogs, in a derogatory sense. But Jesus called her a “little dog” to mean a “house dog” as to soften the term. He was showing her kindness and compassion. Her response was epic that even the little housedogs eat the scraps that fall from the table. She wasn’t looking to take the whole meal (blessings) away from the children; just a small portion and was satisfied with that.
In the grand scheme of things, Jesus was quick to heal both times. There are many places in the Bible where God wanted His people to learn lessons. Sometimes those lessons were learned generations afterward. Many times, we have to go through things for years before learning what we need to. Is that because of God’s chastening, or because of our defiance?
The Bible says that Jesus knew man, and what was in man (John 2:24-25). This is divine knowledge of the thoughts and intents of the heart and mind (Jeremiah 20:12; Matthew 12:25, 22:18; Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8, 11:17). He knew what was going through the mind and heart of the Centurion and the gentile woman before they even asked. He wanted to draw it out of them and verbalize it. When that happens, an awakening takes place within that person.
What would happen if God bent over backwards and helped us in our needs as soon as we need them? Would that ultimately bring us fulfilment that would last an eternity? No.
I know God wants His best for me; His goodness and faithfulness abounds. After losing my job of fifteen years, it led me on a journey to not only find myself, but draw closer to God and help my marriage. I don’t have a normal job as other people do, but I am serving the Lord with everything I have and helping people with their burdens along the way. I was there for my family when my father got sick and passed away, and became an elder in my church. I learned lessons you can’t learn from reading a book, some of which are: humility, to trust the Lord without compromise, and to love my neighbor as myself. I never had to take a loan, never late on bills, and I am well fed.
Would I have learned these lessons if He had just given me the perfect job? I often pray to God to be straight, direct, and to the point with me; to tell me exactly what He wants me to do, and I would do it. But would I?
In His service,
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