The Apostle Matthew, the tax collector, knows true versus false compassion.If there was on Apostle that truly understood rejection by the religious establishment, it is Matthew. That is why it is important that we see this chapter through his eyes and why he intertwines the religious leader’s false faith and the Canaanite woman’s true faith so we might have a heart for those who are seeking mercy and healing.
Do we recognize true faith as Jesus did or are we like the religious leaders who were guided solely by their traditional faith path which says: “Truth is what you’ve always been taught.” (Mark Mittelberg). This is where we all need to learn compassion and Jesus used this lesson to bring that home to their and our consciences.
The disciples were only concerned that Jesus had offended the religious leaders but Jesus wanted them to learn a higher lesson: prejudices and hypocrisy rule those who are blind. To further teach this lesson Jesus takes the disciples to the area of the Gentiles,to the Canaanite area that the Jews so despised. The disciples were concerned that Jesus had offended them but Jesus will teach them that those who are truly seeking will come and not be offended when the truth is revealed. This Gentile Canaanite woman clearly understood one truth that we all need to know:
Jesus is not only the Son of David but He is Lord and He is merciful.
He wanted the disciples to see themselves for who they really were: hypocrites no better than the religious leaders because they allowed prejudice to rule their compassion meter.
How often are we dependent upon our traditions or are ruled by our prejudices? True compassion sees the crack in the heart which needs healing. He who “knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.”[James 4]