Summary: Consideration of Christ encounter with a woman, who was only one of two individuals of whom Christ commended them for their great or mega faith. Her expectations and Christs response.
A Woman’s Great Faith
Jesus Christ had traveled to the district of Tyre and Sidon to the north of Galilee in what today is coastal southern Lebanon. Here Christ encounters a woman, who was only one of two individuals of whom Christ commended them for their great or mega faith. As we look at this account we need to consider the following: who this woman was; the response she could possibly expect from Christ; how Christ responded to her; her reaction; and the end result.
I. Who was this woman?
A. Matthew 15:22 “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil”
B. She was a Canaanitish woman a direct descendant of people who were outcasts in the divine economy. They were a people group who God had ordered to be destroyed by Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 7 and chapter 20.
They were a cursed, doomed people, set for divine removal through the instrumentation of the people of Israel
C. This person doesn’t fit the Jews’ view of who can enter into the blessing of God. First, it’s a woman! Secondly, she’s a Canaanite.
D. Mark in his gospel calls her a Syro-Phoenician, that is, from the area of Syria and Phoenicia, or Syria and Lebanon.
E. She is outside the covenant, an outcast, a sinner from a people of sinners.
F. Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
G. Mark also tells us that she was a Greek. She was not a Greek by birth but by religion. She had been an idolater and worshipper of Astarte, the goddess of nature, a god who did not nor could meet her needs.
H. Ephesians 2:12 “...without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
I. The plight of every person apart from Christ is to be without God in his or her world.
II. What could she possibly expect from Christ?
A. This woman was without hope.
B. Ephesians 2:12 “...without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
C. This woman was a individual who had knelt at the altars of idols, was a member of a vile, contemptible, condemned race (McArthur – says they were viewed as a “wretched cancer on the body of humanity”, and an was outsider to everything connected to God. There is absolutely no reason that she should hope to come to Jesus Christ and have Him hear her plea.
D. The Canaanite woman had nothing to lose. Her daughter was suffering from a demon-possession that no shaman or physician could cure.
E. She is unsatisfied, her needs are unmet, so she comes to Jesus Christ believing in her heart that He can meet her need.
F. Matthew 15:22 “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”
G. When she cries “Have mercy”, she uses the Greek word “eleéô”, which is to show God’s mercy – It does not mean "I deserve this." Mercy says, "I’m here in spite of the fact that I don’t deserve anything." The basic assumption of one who seeks mercy is a sense of unworthiness. She did not come demanding anything. She came having turned from her worthless idols seeking the unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor or grace of God.
H. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God”
III. How did Christ respond to her pleas?
A. Matthew 15:23a “But He answered her not a word...”
B. Concerning this one writer penned, “Blessing were wont to flow. His mercy seems clean gone and his compassion to have failed. A Christ silent to a sufferer’s cry is a paradox which contradicts the whole gospel story, and which we may be sure no evangelist would have painted if he had not been painting from the life.” - Copied
C. He answered her NOT A WORD!
D. What do you do when Christ does not answer a word?
E. Psalm 22:1-2 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”