Summary: This mother properly demonstrates how we should approach Jesus: Acknowledging Him as Christ. Humble acceptance of Him as Lord. Knowing our need of His mercy. Worshipfully asking for His help.
A Mother With Great Faith
Text: Matthew 15:21-28
As today is the second Sunday in May, and we live in the United States, it means that today is Mother’s Day. Now the apostrophe in Mother’s Day is intentionally placed to note the singular possessive. In 1912, Ana M. Jarvis (who is generally credited with creating our modern observance honoring Mothers) trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and created the Mother's Day International Association.
"She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world."
This is also the spelling used in 1914 by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S., by the U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. presidents on their declarations.
Now there are a number of admirable mothers within the scriptures on which we may preached, and on whom I have preached. There is Eve, the first mother; Sarah the wife of Abraham and mother of the covenant; Jochebed the wife of Amram whose children, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, would lead the children of God out of Egyptian bondage; or Mary, the mother of Jesus, who would lead the world out of the bondage of sin.
All of these mothers are worthy of our study but this morning we are going to spend time on a mother whose name we do not even know but a mother who was declared by Jesus Himself to be of great faith. Read Matthew 15:21-28
I. The Setting
A.How she came to find Jesus.
1.It is recorded at the end of Matthew 14 that Jesus was at Gennesaret on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, healing the people of the region
As Matthew chapter 15 begins the Pharisees and Scribes show up and start pestering Jesus with questions critical of His disciples so He moves toward the shore of the Mediterranean sea some 30 to 60 miles away (the region of Tyre and Sidon.)
1.She was a Canaanite (Greek and Syro-phoenician, Mark 7:26) a Gentile, and a woman.
She was also a mother.
a.Her daughter is afflicted with a demon.
She is in desperate need of help.
2.She seeks out Jesus
a.Who was not far away from her.
II. The Scene
A.She finds and entreats Jesus.
1.She does not make a demand, she pleads for mercy.
a.Mercy is sought by the subordinate from the superior. (She calls Him “Lord.”)
She comes in humility and respect.
2.She identifies Jesus by a Messianic title: Son of David
a.We don’t know how she knew of Jesus.
She must have heard the stories, how Jesus healed even the servant of the Centurion at Capernaum. (Matthew 8:5-13.)
She acknowledges Jesus in a way that many of His own people did not. (Pharisees, Matthew 14)
B.The dialog of Jesus and the Disciples
1.Jesus does not answer her direct entreaty.
a.That can happen whenever we petition our Lord, sometimes He knows it best not to answer right away.
But she does not give in or give up.
2.The Disciples ask Jesus to v23 “send her away because she keeps shouting at us.”
a.This tells us of her determination and persistence in making her plea.
The Greek implies that the Disciples were saying in effect: “Give her what she wants so she’ll stop bothering us.”
Jesus replies to the Disciples, not the woman.
3.Matthew 15:24 (NASB) But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
a.The “lost sheep of the house of Israel” were the Jews. He came first to them.
He had come to offer to His own people the kingdom promised through David centuries before. Thus it was inappropriate for Him to bring blessings on Gentiles before blessings fell on Israel.
C.The dialog of Jesus and the mother
1.v25 The mother bows down at the feet of Jesus and implores Him further “Lord, help me.”
a.In worship and humility she presses her case.
2.v26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
a.As a Gentile the woman had no claim on the Messiah or the blessings of Israel.
b.She realizes her standing by the statement Jesus makes to the Disciples.
c.His words pictured a family gathered at mealtime around a table, eating food provided by the head of the household but taking what was intended for the children and giving it to the family dog instead.
3.v27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
a.The Gentile woman saw herself in this picture. She was not a child in the family (of Israel) eligible for the choicest morsels of food. But she saw herself as a household dog (a Gentile; the Jews often called Gentiles “dogs”) eligible to receive crumbs that might fall from the master’s table.