Summary: A brief look at the gentile woman who tried to deceive Christ by dressing as a Jew in order to see her daughter healed. A lesson to all of us about grace. More preaching notes than full-text


MATTHEW 15. 21 - 28

This passage of scripture is one of the most profound, yet the most simplistic of all passages in scripture. It is the story of the life of a Christian saved by grace. It is an appropriate passage for us to understand our position in this world, and in the greater matter of all creation. Here, there is a woman who has a desperate need and has the knowledge of where to get her need fulfilled. She approaches the answer to her solution, who happens to be in a teaching session with His followers. Christ takes this opportunity to teach one of the greatest lessons that we can learn in this life. He taught us a lesson, he taught the disciples a lesson, about the grace of God, the position of the believer, and the role of religion in one simple session that lasted probably no more than 2 minutes. He taught them, and us, about crumbs that fall from the table of grace.


* A gentile, not a Jew. Had a problem, her daughter was possessed with a demon.

* Became overwhelmed when she heard that Christ was coming to town.

* So overwhelmed that she tried to deceive Christ to believing that she was a Jew. V. 22. Probably spoke Hebrew. Dressed as a Hebrew woman to receive her needs from Christ. Cried out for the Son of David to have mercy on her. (David would have been an enemy to her race).

* Many of us do the same. We try to deceive God into believing we are one of His. We dress and talk like Christians, we attend church like Christians, but that is only on the outside. You can pretend to be about anything for a while.

* Christ responded with silence. Giving her an opportunity to confess the truth. (Truth will always be honored by Christ). The disciples were probably amazed at his silence. They were probably fooled by her appearance and language.

* This is common for pretenders. The voice of God doesn’t speak to us when we try to deceive Him. Our lives are not victorious, our worship is spiritless, and our witness is not much. Faking it results in the silence of God.

* She continued to cry after Him, and the disciples asked Him to send her away.

* Christ’s response: I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

* She continued her attempts of deception. (Which many folks do, even after they see that they are caught). Lord help me...

* Christ reveals to her that He knows she is not a Jew. It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. Was Christ turning her away, was he denying her what she so earnestly desired, was he sending her away with her needs unfulfilled? Is it possible that the Savior of all men would turn one away? No, He wanted her to admit the truth, he was taking an opportunity to spread the good news of salvation to all who would believe. Before we can be saved, we must admit the truth of our lost condition.

* She was caught. What did she do? She still had a need, she still had a desire to see her child healed. She came clean. She asked for crumbs.

* What do we do when we are caught? I spent a long time in my life trying to fake it. I was expected to be a Christian, my parents are Christians, my grandparents are Christians, I went up as a child of 6 and made my profession. Spent many years living the lie, putting on the front. But, eventually, the truth came out, eventually, the lie could not be carried on any longer. I had a choice to make. I could either continue to try to live the lie, or I could repent and be saved. God knew I was lying, I hadn’t deceived Him. Much like this woman, it didn’t matter how I dressed, how I talked, what language I used, God knew I was not one of His children, He knew I was simply a lost soul in need of salvation, trying to prove that I belonged. When the realization that we are lost hits us in the face, it is a crisis. It was for me. All of the plays, the retreats, the youth trips, all of that was just a put-on, and God knew it.

* This woman knew she was not deserving of God’s good favor, that she was a dog in the greater matter of all things, she knew that she had no claim to Christ. But, she also knew that even the puppies of the children got to eat the crumbs from the table. She didn’t believe that she, as a gentile, was worthy of the full blessings and rights of the Messiah, but she hoped that her faith could get her some leftovers. Not much, just what the others didn’t want.

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Scott Strohkirch

commented on Jul 30, 2008

I found one problem on the first page of your sermon. Where does it say in the scripture reading that the woman disguised herself to deceive Jesus? It says no such thing. Neither the Matthew nor the Mark accounts say anything of this sort. If you gave this sermon you have deceived your congregation about this particular story in the bible. You need to read more closely the text of which you are preaching.

Scott Strohkirch

commented on Jul 30, 2008

I think I know what you did. It may even have been unintentional. Could you perhaps have been thinking of Tamar in the account where she deceived Judah by dressing as a Temple prostitute? She was a Canaanite woman who had been promised to Judah''s 3rd son after his first two Sons were destroyed by God for their evil acts. This is the only story I know of where a Canaanite woman did such a thing. The accounts in Matthew and Mark do not have the woman disguising herself. Check out Gen. 38 and then compare to these two accounts in Matthew and Mark. See if that is where you got your idea.

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