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Jesus' 'modus operandi'
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When a Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking him to heal her daughter, his immediate reaction is absolutely nothing! Jesus said nothing, did nothing (Matthew 15:22-23). Shortly afterwards Jesus says to her, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Yet interestingly Jesus had already healed the Roman Centurion's servant, even offering to go to his house. Perhaps Jesus' apparent reluctance is intended to draw out faith in this woman.
Whatever the reason for his hesitation we find that Jesus had no 'standard modus operandi' – no regular operating procedure. On occasions when Jesus was asked to come and heal a sick child, sometimes he went, as in the case of Jarius (Matthew 9:18:26), sometimes he didn't as in the case of the official's son (John 4:46:54). Sometimes he laid hands on the sick person, sometimes he didn't. We also see Jesus' hesitation to help (John 2:4) at the wedding at Cana and yet he does solve the host's wine problem.
Perhaps the best explanation is found in John 14:31 "I do exactly what my Father has commanded me." Jesus was not following a predetermined action plan but rather He was listening to his Father. Jesus' description of someone born of the Spirit is a description of his own life, "the wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going" (John 3:8).
What does this mean for us? It means we can't assume that we know what God will do in a particular situation. It means we don't know how God will work in someone's life until he tells us. It means it is essential for us to listen to God for his directions.
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