Summary: In these critical times, violence everywhere, immorality everywhere, wars and rumors of wars, the faith of a good mother is a powerful weapon against the wiles of the devil.
Motherhood is a ministry; the moment the Lord commanded us to be fruitful and multiply was the very moment that the ministry of motherhood began. In life, we generally come across various forms of relationships like father-son, husband-wife, love, friendship and others, but the dearest of all is of a mother and her child’s relationship. In the terms of relationships the bond of a godly mother and her child is pure and holy. A mother is next to God, the late Rev. John J. Rector used to say, “Motherhood is the closet to divinity than anything on earth” it is a divine ministry (service).
In these difficult times we are living today, and as we come together to celebrate Mother’s Day the thought that has crossed my mind is that a mother’s faith in God is crucial to the welfare and livelihood of her children. As I grew up and became a man I never really gave it much thought that my mother’s prayers aided in bringing through. She would pray for me even when I was too mean to live but not fit to die. She would pray for me even when I refused to pray for myself. There’s something special about a mother’s prayer, for one thing you know a mother’s pray is from the heart and full of faith. These are critical here in America, unemployment, threats of nuclear war, debates concerning marriage of same-sex couples, etc. and of this affects the future of our children; we really need the prayers of mothers everywhere.
Here in the text, we find Jesus going up to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Tyre and Sidon are cities that are outside the boundaries of Israel, located in today’s Lebanon. This is Gentile territory that Jesus is entering. The people who lived there were not Jews; they did not follow the religion of Israel. They were Gentiles--“pagans,” who followed paganistic beliefs and could not care less about God or the things of God. This is a difficult passage to understand because Jesus’ response to this woman seems harsh and insensitive. He was silent and seemed to show a lack of interest to mother’s desperate need, which is an attitude that we wouldn’t normally attribute to Him. However, we need to remember: unlike us, Jesus knew what was in this woman’s heart and He knew exactly what she needed. For sure, He was not rejecting this woman, because He never turned from anyone who earnestly sought Him. The problem was, this woman, this mother saw Jesus as only the Son of David (flesh and blood), she viewed Him as only a great miracle worker. She limited Him to only having an earthly power and she needed to grow in her concept of Jesus. Before we become angry with her and misjudge her, let me say that most of us need to grow in our concept or our knowledge of Jesus Christ (Read 2 Peter 1: 2-11). The woman simply needed to grow in her faith and this exchange between Christ and this dear mother is the key to this story of the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus is merely teaching her (and us) what it takes to receive the things of God.
1.) SHE CRIED OUT TO JESUS
Jesus is taking His disciples aside for some much needed rest; He was taking them on a retreat so to speak. A quiet place away from the crowd, we all know that in order to fully rest it is required that we not receive any distractions. In fact, they went to vicinity or the outskirts of Tyre and not the city, and they did this in order to escape notice, and again to receive some badly needed rest. This woman had to very desperate in seeking out Jesus because in order to find Him it required her to do some traveling.
This mother was at her wit’s end, her daughter was not just ill she was acting very strange as well. Maybe she was struggling with seizures, experiencing bouts of temper; even foaming at the mouth, because the truth is she was possessed by a demon. She was suffering from something that your average doctor could not handle, this woman’s daughter must have transformed from a sweet little angel into an unrecognizable beast almost over-night. And there was no one to help, and at first the mother didn’t know what to do, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Do you give up and just suffer it to be so? No, you call on the only One who is able to help you. Somehow she discovered that a miracle worker named Jesus was in town. And there was rumor floating around town that this miracle worker was able to do all kinds of healing, cure blindness, cause the lame to walk, raise people from the dead — and cast out demons. The only problem was that this miracle worker she heard so much about was not of her faith (if she had one) and not a member of her community. The problem for her was that He was a stranger, an outsider. And even today in the year 2013, there are people who see Jesus as a stranger, an outsider. Is Jesus a stranger to you? Be careful how you answer, remember the story of the road to Emmaus? The story of two friends feeling depressed after all that had happened to Jesus. He was their hope and now he was gone.