The Canaanite Woman's Faith (Rabel)

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This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 18 given on February 20, 1976

Matt. 15:20-22, Mark 5:24-34, Luke 8:43-48, pp. 109-111 of transcript.

Now we come to another healing incident in Matt. 15:21. This is found on P. 96. H.G.

15:22And behold, a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. 15:23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 15:24But he answered and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 15:25But she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 15:26And he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs.

Now notice who is she asking help for? She said "help Me". Jesus' seeming rebuke of this request was then actually motivated to help her, not her daughter. The daughter's help, Jesus realizes, will follow as a matter of course if the mother's request is answered first. Jesus gives her the help she needs in one of the strangest sentences in the Gospels. But it is also one of the most potent because it constituted exactly the that this mother needed to complete the healing consciousness which would give her daughter the breakthrough into health.

Now remember, Jesus has just compared this woman to a dog. If you don't understand Jesus and don't realize the significance in this whole incident your reaction might be one of outrage. But the woman wasn't put off by this remark because she realized, as an intuitive woman, what He was doing. She knew that He had spoken words to her which gave her the opportunity to overcome something in herself and respond in a way that would complete her healing consciousness. So instead of being offended and upset, she knows what just took place. So she says, "Yea Lord;" (in other words, "I understand") .... "for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus said unto her, "O woman, great is thy faith; be it done unto thee even as thou wilt." Jesus knew what was in this woman and He knew before He uttered a word how she would respond. It is then recorded "And her daughter was healed from that hour."

Obviously, this woman, up until the point that Jesus threw the challenge at her, was lacking in some aspect of her healing consciousness. Even the disciples, who were compassionate men, wanted Jesus to send her away. So therefore, she had done enough to totally develop her healing consciousness. There was still a blockage, an undeveloped something in her yet that wasn't letting the breakthrough occur in her desire for her daughter's healing. From the nature of the challenge, the bombshell, Jesus throws at her, we light surmise that the stumbling block in her healing consciousness might have been vanity. Jesus' statement seems geared toward giving her the opportunity of overcoming this stubborn pocket of vanity. Jesus knew that she could overcome the seemingly derisive statement which would then constitute the victory.

I have done alot of deep meditating and research on this sort of thing. One of the things that I have come up with is that any time that I am not getting what I need or want through my prayer requests, I think of the quotation in the Gospel of James, "Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss." So I know there's something amiss in my consciousness, in my asking, my seeking. Then I do some of this inner observing and in almost every case I discover that that which is making my asking amiss is some branch of these two things: Selfishness and Vanity, either or both. In other words, there is a possibility that I am more concerned with my image in this situation or act of prayer than the thing I am concerned about. My priorities are not in Divine Order. Self is ahead of the prayer request or image is more important than reality - in some form, it can take many forms. I find that if I can put the denial faculty on all aspects of selfishness and vanity then the amiss goes away. The prayer request is then answered.

Here we have a Canaanite woman approaching a Jew. Knowing the situation between Jews and Canaanites in those days, her subconscious expectation might be an automatic rejection or at least an insult. Since our expectations are always what we think, Jesus gave her what she subconsciously was probably expecting. But not to be cruel to her. There's no possibility of this. However, knowing the potential that was ready to surface He threw out the opportunity for this overcoming. She comes through with flying colors. His immediate response to this overcoming of hers is: "0 woman, great is thy faith. Be it done unto thee even as thou wilt."

Jesus healed the daughter indirectly by helping the mother who was the direct healer in this case.

Q. Are there other instances where Jesus uses the rebuke to prod a person to a higher consciousness?

A. Well, when he scolds Peter a number of times - "Get thee behind me Satan?, "Where's your faith?", etc. These weren't meant to wound Peter. These are the same kind of things. These were deliberately worded challenges or opportunities to help the light break through in him. Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny Jesus three times and Peter did. But then Jesus, being the incomparable being that He is, takes time out from his evolutionary business and gives Peter three chances to cancel his karmic debt. He does this by posing the question after the Resurrection, "Lovest thou me, Simon?" He asks this and receives a positive response three times. The score was cancelled. Jesus is so beyond evaluation as to His all-encompassing understanding of human nature that we'll probably never get through benefitting from learning His teachings.

Q. When we discuss the healing of this woman's daughter, if we were discussing it metaphysically , then it would seem that we would be talking about what the woman was inside of us. Or is this a metaphysical example and I'm just missing it?

A. Yes, you can't be hard and fast about what is metaphysical and what isn't. You've got to be able to cross those borderlines that at times deal with people as people and the metaphysics that is an implication or an application valid to all human beings. You could change this cast of characters into any era of history, any nation, any culture, any sex or age category but the same thing it re-enacted would have exactly the same meaning and the same results. So in that sense it is metaphysical. In order to get the metaphysical validity of any scriptural portion, you don't have to make it an abstraction; that is, turn the character into a quality. This is the usual way you do it but not always. You can often get the full metaphysical meaning by leaving certain characters as characters. But be sure you don't limit the character to only that historical character but have it be a spokesman for all human characters.

Q. I find as in the "Centurion story", Jesus is using faith as understanding.

A. Jesus uses the word faith, to cover a very wide territory. Often He spreads the words faith and belief wide, like butter over bread. This is because He knew that really the 12 powers are all really One in reality. So He could handle it on that level. But we couldn’t do that. We couldn't go around calling everything by just one name. We still have the type of consciousness where we need more distinctions and that the separating of the Twelve, the Christ into twelve, is a mental necessity for us right now. It wasn't for Jesus because He could see all things on a much more unified dimension.

Q. I think in this instance we have a prime example of oriental teaching of the student with the master. In western education we are totally unfamiliar with and would resent a statement like Jesus threw out to the woman. Often in that kind of teaching the master would give to the student something that would seem like an insult, questioning their ability but what is really a statement of honor..."I know you can answer this."

A. Yes, there was a rapport there on a deeper level than we would be aware of as a rule. I'm not too familiar with Zen but isn't there an element of Zen in this kind of thing.

Q. I still have a hard time trying to grasp the idea of vanity, when I look at it initially she says "Have mercy on me O Lord." And he doesn't even answer her. He just ignores her. Then she's crying after the disciples and they're trying to get rid of her. Yet she still comes back. I guess I can't see any example of vanity in this.

A. The vanity that I see is the hidden vanity that Jesus could see. Therefore, everyone of has responses to her is a challenge to her vanity. This is what I read into everyone of the things he says to this woman prior to her overcoming. He saw the vanity-pocket of resistance. This isn't revealed literally but certainly in the manner of his approach we must see this as a challenge to her hidden vanity.

In our prayer requests to God, especially when we become very adept in the metaphysical techniques and very well-read in all the schools of thought, there is a hidden danger we must watch for. When we take our prayer requests to God for the healing of a daughter or any other thing that you might need, we must keep in mind that in that kind of a relationship, my letters of credit, my academic degrees, my travel-record of success must be left outside the door. Only my open and receptive, humble consciousness must present itself to the Source. Because if there is a barrier of vanity, of self-centeredness, of vindictiveness toward others or even the situation, then that could cause serious delays and even seeming failures. The humility-factor must be present at all prayer request times. Forget about how many times you’ve prayed and have gotten wonderful answers because that might spoil the humility factor. Pretend, instead, that each prayer request is the first time. This way you will have a completely open-ended receptivity towards the Source, toward the Father. Once the woman’s asking could be completely open-ended with the humility-factor in charge, then the admiration of Jesus is expressed and the assurance of fulfillment is given.

Text of the original transcript from the third paragraph of page 109 through the page 111.
Transcribed by Rev. Anna Shouse,Ph.D. on September 3, 2013.