Matthew 15:21-28 & The Grace of Hunger

A father might be delighted or annoyed by his child’s persistent cries. You are at task and single focus is necessitated. You have explained this once to your son. Shortly “dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad…” are said in rhythm with a drumbeat of taps on your back. No emergency need be declared, and they do not want you, they just want some of your stuff and they want it now.

“Let’s play Nerf guns,” they later beg. And it is clear it’s not playing Nerf guns that they want, but playing Nerf guns with dad. You draw them out. You say no, but in such a way and in such a tone that they get what is happening. They persist and cry out, “please, please, pleeeeease?” The child wants their father, and the father wants to give himself, so what is a father doing in such instances? He is soaking in the moment, and heightening their hunger to maximize their shared joy at his yes. Which one is closer to what Jesus is doing in this text? I believe the point of this text isn’t simply that Jesus answers the humble, persistent cries of Gentiles, but that He loves to do so.

Jesus intensifies the hunger of this “dog,” so that she might rejoice all the more in the “crumb” that she receives from her “master’s table.” While this woman is shown the depth of her need and the extent of her unworthiness she is receiving God-glorifying backdoor grace that sees Jesus as her only hope, and keeps her coming back.

Jesus is glorified in our hunger as well as our satisfaction. Jesus is glorified in our groans as as well as our “ahhhs.” He is glorified when we long for Him in the valley of the shadow of death as well as when we rejoice that our cups run over. Whatever drives you to Jesus, whatever makes you grasp for Him more vehemently, whatever turns your casual prayers into earnest screams – is grace! So if you are crying out for the salvation of the Lord, keep crying out. When you sense your need, cry out. When He is silent, cry out. When conviction lays you prostrate before Him, keep crying out all the more. He is magnifying His name in you. He is increasing your hunger to maximize your shared joy at His yes.

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