Summary: Have you ever wondered what grips the attention of the Lord? God is excited about faith. There are only two individuals described in the Gospels as having, “great faith”....
Have you ever wondered what grips the attention of the Lord? What is it that He is excited about? Our text today reveals the answer to that question: God is excited about faith. Faith always gets our Lord’s attention. If you want to get through to God- faith is the way to do it.
The Bible has much to say about faith. Faith is described in numerous ways; as weak faith, strong faith, bold faith, abiding faith, unfeigned faith and many other kinds. But only two individuals are des-cribed by Jesus in the Gospels as having “great faith” and perhaps surprisingly both of these individuals are Gentiles. One is the Canaanite woman described in our text today and the other is the Roman Centurion found in the eighth chapter of Matthew.
The question for us to consider today is what does Jesus mean when he says that this woman’s faith is “great”? Is it great because it is stronger, more mature or more sincere than others? NO! It is great because of the obstacles that she overcame to display it. As we will see “great” faith is often tested and hammered out on the anvil of difficulty.
“From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. (25) For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. (26) The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. (27) But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." (28) And she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs."
(29) Then He said to her, "For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter."(30) And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.” (Mark 7:24-30)
Notice with me this morning four distinctive of “great” faith that we find in today’s text.
First, The Foundation of Great Faith (7:25-26)
The text tells that Jesus not went outside of the region of Galilee but that he went to distinctly Gentile area. After a time of intense ministry with the multi-tudes and the conflict with the religious leadership, Jesus and his disciples seek a place where they might rest for a while away from the demands of the ministry. But even there Jesus could not escape notice.
•The Woman Acted Out of Desperation vv.25-26
“For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. (26) The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.”
The source of her desperation is her “young daughter” - this is a tender term meaning “my darling little girl.” She says that her daughter had an “unclean spirit” - “unclean” here means unclean in a moral sense. This mother knew that her daughter was demon possessed. Somehow she knew what the problem was.
It is possible this is a result of dabbling with the occult (perhaps because of the mother’s involvement in pagan religion) and she became a victim of demonic possession. The Apostle reminds the Corinthian believers (1 Cor. 10:19-20) that idol worship is not harmless, that idol worship is demon inspired. Regard-less of how it occurred the child was demon-possessed and was probably acting out in violence and anger. Think about it, how would you feel if she were your daughter? What would you have been willing to do to see her healed?
Parenting is always an interesting proposition. If you notice young couples, they all have lots of theories about child rearing before they have children. After they have children most of them no longer have any theories. Someone has said that parenting is one of those jobs that by the time you learn how to do it half way well; you are out of a job!
This woman as a resident of Tyre and Sidon like most of the people was probably was a worshipper of Asharte. That may seem fine as long as everything was going well. But when the time came that trouble came to her home, when she appealed to the goddess for help, nothing happened. She was looking for something her dead religion had been powerless to give her. You see the gods of this world, whether it is materialism, or New Age philosophy, or whatever it may be, may seem fine as long until you need a REAL God. Let me assure you when that time comes they will not be enough.