Memory Verse: Matthew 15:26-28
15:21-22 A Humble Faith In The Helper Seeking Healing
- 15:21 After Jesus finished teaching His disciples an important truth about what truly makes a person unclean (what comes out of the heart, not what a person consumes), He went away from there and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon (north of Galilee). This was the region of the Gentiles (those who were not Jews, did not follow the Old Testament, nor did they worship Jehovah). Most of Jesus’ ministry has taken place in areas that are predominately Jewish, but Jesus leaves these areas and entered into a house hoping that, “No man know it,” possibly as a chance to get away from the crowds and accusations of the religious leaders of the Jews for a time of rest and disciple training, “but Jesus could not be hid”.
- 15:22 Then a certain women of Canaan (the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation) from that region heard of Jesus. She came, fell at His feet and cried (loudly shouting out) unto Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (unclean spirit).” We learn several things about this woman’s faith from what she said:
- Her faith comes from her humility: “Have mercy on me”—she was wanting Jesus to show leniency and compassion towards her. But this also means she was aware of her own unworthiness for the request she was about to ask. She was a Gentile and rejected by the Jews. But she is willing to humbly come seek out Jesus (a Jew), and to completely disregard herself so that she could find mercy. Is your pride keeping you back from seeking out mercy? Do you lack faith because you lack humility?
- Her faith is in the Helper: “O Lord, thou Son of David”— she refers to Jesus as a descendent of David and uses a term that refers to the Messiah. The use of this term and referring to Jesus as Lord could mean that she came to an understanding of who Jesus was and was expressing faith in Him as the Lord and the Christ. However we understand these terms, she means them as terms of respect and understood that Jesus was someone great who could help her in a miraculous way. Faith is only useful if it is based in the right person. Who do you think Jesus is?
- Her faith seeks healing: “My daughter”—she asked Jesus to cast the devil out of her daughter. She had learned enough and had faith enough to believe that Jesus could cast out the devil in her daughter who was badly under its power, control and influence. We don’t know how this demon possession manifested itself in the life of the daughter, but it was severe. The mother is at the end of herself and needs Jesus to work a miracle. Have you come to the end of yourself and realized your need of Jesus in your life? Are you seeking truly spiritual healing?
15:23-24 Understanding Jesus’ Faithfulness To His Mission
- 15:23-24 Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t say anything in response to her. He was silent. But His disciples seemed annoyed. They came to Him and asked Him to send her away because she “crieth after us”—meaning she was continually and loudly shouting out to them for mercy. It seemed as if the disciples wanted Jesus to just grant her request so that she would stop shouting. Jesus answers His disciples by saying that He is not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Again, we learn a few things from this response:
- “Sent”—Jesus was on a specific mission while He was here on earth. He wasn’t sent on world-wide healing ministry nor would He setup His own government and kingdom on the earth. But He was conscience of His specific mission from God to be the Saviour of the world through His death and resurrection.
- “House of Israel”—His earthly mission was specifically to the chosen people of God “Israel” and not to the entire world. As you read through the gospels, you will notice the places He traveled and the majority of His workings were all among the Jews. The gospel would eventually be spread to the whole world, but Jesus specific mission was to focus on Israel.
Matthew 10:6; 22:9
- “The lost sheep”—the people of God were “lost” meaning they have become spiritually alienated from God. They have left faith in God and were now trusting in their traditions and the works of the law as a way to become righteous. Jesus came to show them the right way and then through them establish the church which would spread the good news of salvation to the entire world.
15:25-28 Jesus Works A Miracle Because Of Great Faith
- 15:25-26 The woman finally caught up with Jesus and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Her faith was humble and persistent. She knew she needed Jesus’ help. But Jesus responds to her in a surprisingly manner that seems almost offensive on the surface (because we don’t know the tone and manner in which he said it) saying: “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” This proverbial statement refers to the woman who is a Gentile as the “dog,” the Jews as the “children,” and God’s blessings as the “bread.” What Jesus is saying that in family life the children will be cared for first and then the pets will be cared for second. No family would first take care of the pets at the expense of the children. This points to the priority of Jesus mission to reach the Jews first.
- 15:27 The women responds to Jesus. First, she agrees with Jesus, saying, “Truth, Lord.” Second, she adds to the proverbial statement by saying that even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. She was not trying to say that she was part of Israel (she knew her place in the illustration), but she was hoping that there would still be some mercy shown to her even though she wasn’t the main aim of Jesus’ mission on earth. She was showing that even though she wasn’t in the realm of the “people of God” that she still had faith in the Jesus to meet her needs.
- 15:28 Jesus recognizes that her answer showed her faith in Him and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith.” Jesus says her faith was remarkable or that it was more than just the ordinary degree of faith. Because of that, He granted her request to be done and her daughter was made whole instantly.
- Who came seeking Jesus?
- What did we learn from her request to Jesus?
- What was priority in Jesus earthly mission?
- What proverbial statement did Jesus say to the women? How did she respond?
- Did the women get her request granted? Why?