Summary: The mother in this story shows great determination in coming to Jesus to save her daughter.
Matthew 15:21-28, “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Today is mother’s day it is the day that we celebrate not just our literal mom’s but the wonderful ladies who have been a part of our lives everywhere. I’m sure that if we were to open the mike that we could spend the better part of the day listening to people share about how the women who have impacted their lives for the better. Ladies you do so much for so many people with the care and the nurture you provide. One of the greatest things that a woman can give to those she loves is the persistence of her faith. We’re going to be looking today at a woman who became a living illustration of that. We are not even told her name but look at what Jesus said about her and did because of her faith. Verse 28 reads, “Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Of all the things that God can say about us, this is one of the greatest complements we could receive, for God to look at our lives, to look at our actions and to say that we have great faith that is the result from this woman in this unlikely and let’s be honest difficult story. This is a story where we see Jesus respond in just about every way possible to this woman’s prayer. Perhaps you’ve heard a sermon or a lesson before on prayer that said that God always answers prayer, it’s just not always the way that we want Him too. Sometimes, He says ‘yes,’ sometimes He says, ‘no’ and sometimes He says ‘wait.’ By the way, the silence of God is sometimes an answer as well. We’re going to look in a moment at what I believe Jesus was saying with His silence to this woman.
As we look at this passage though, when we just read it, it is a difficult story because the actions of Jesus, or in this case in inactions of Jesus, are so unexpected. We are used to understanding that God is love. We’ve been taught the miracle stories of Jesus. So when we read that someone came up to Christ and asked Him for help, we just assume that He will give it. So when we read a story about someone asking for help and He doesn’t do it right away we wonder why? Maybe we even feel bad for the woman because we have been in her shoes. Oh maybe we don’t have a daughter who has been demon oppresses but we have been there. We have prayed fervently for God to answer our prayers and then the answer that we wanted didn’t come or it didn’t come in the timing that we wanted and we wonder why. Well this story is for us.
As we look at this woman, this mother of great faith, let’s also recognize her great courage. You understand that there were several obstacles she had to over come in order to ask Jesus for help. The first is a matter of setting and attitude in this case this involves Jesus. Look at verse 21, “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.” The key word to understanding this is “withdrew.” This is something that Jesus did when He was tired and needed rest. As we read Matthew 14 we see Jesus trying to withdraw, but the crowds won’t let Him, people keep following Him. Then this chapter finds Jesus in Jerusalem, where He is confronted by the Pharisee’s and then He has to teach His disciples. Wherever He goes in Israel people are following Him. But the human part of Jesus needs rest, since He can’t find it in Israel He withdraws to the Gentile regions. So Jesus had withdrawn to this area most likely He was looking for rest. If you are wanting a miracle from God this is probably not a good time to ask for it. But if you are this woman, this is the best time you are going to get, so despite the seeming inopportunity of the moment she takes it.