Summary: The Canaanite woman persistently keeps praying and coming to Jesus for help for her daughter. Jesus answers.
8.30.20 Matthew 15:21–28
21 Jesus left that place and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 There a Canaanite woman from that territory came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! A demon is severely tormenting my daughter!” 23 But he did not answer her a word. His disciples came and pleaded, “Send her away, because she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt in front of him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to their little dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet their little dogs also eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! It will be done for you, just as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at that very hour.
Great Faith Keeps Crying
Years ago a movie came out called “Not Without My Daughter.” It is a true life story about a WELS lady from Owosso that had to rescue her daughter from her abusive husband in Iran. Women are very protective of their children. They aren’t called “mama bears” for nothing. Think then about what the Canaanite woman had to go through with her demon possessed daughter. How painful it must have been for her to witness her child in such pain and torment, listening to her say inhumane and disgusting things: having to constantly try and protect him or her from harm. She was desperate for help, and there was nothing she could do.
You can’t help but feel for parents today either, especially as people become more and more Satanic. See the violence on our streets. See the anger over race issues. See the disgusting promotion of sex and the blatant attack against the family. Our children are desperate for meaning and purpose in their lives. They are desperate for love and acceptance. So they are attempting to find a sense of meaning through social justice. They are attempting to establish their identity online, through pictures and comments meant to gain attention. Inside, they’re sad and alone, unknowingly under Satan’s grasp.
Parents don’t know what to do either. They’re working and trying to provide enough money for food and rent. They are stressed out as it is with work, not to mention family and society. Many of them, like the Canaanite woman, know that their children are facing very real and terrible obstacles. They cry for their children. They try to give them things to make them happy. They want them to have help. But they don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to go.
The Canaanite woman KNEW where to go. When she found out Jesus was in the region, she forcefully came for him. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!” Notice the humility and respect:she didn’t demand anything of Jesus: she just asked for mercy. She calls Jesus “Lord,” and she also calls Him “Son of David.” The Messiah was promised to come through the line of David. She was openly referring to Jesus as the Messiah, even though she was a Gentile. Isn’t that a neat thing? Somehow, in some way, even though she lived to the northwest of Israel in Gentile territory, she knew the promises of the Messiah and she trusted that Jesus was that Messiah. So she came to Him in her moment of desperation, like God wants all of us to do.
God wants us to pray to Him. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” There are many Canaanite type women out there: people on the edges of Christianity. They were brought up in some sort of faith, but now that faith seems so far away and so distant. They pray for their children. They maybe bring them to school or church. They hope that maybe we can help in some way.
How did Jesus respond? But he did not answer her a word. His disciples came and pleaded, “Send her away, because she keeps crying out after us.” It seems so rude, doesn’t it? Here we have a desperate woman who wants help for her daughter, and Jesus just tries to IGNORE her. The disciples read Jesus, and see it as a sign that she is nothing but a nuisance. Send her away. “Give the word, Jesus, and we will get her out of here.”
And that’s how Jesus seems to a lot of people. “I came to Jesus. I prayed. I even begged. Nothing improved. Things even got worse. I went to church, and everyone looked at me like I had no right to be there. I didn’t feel welcome.” So it’s not that people have forgotten who Jesus is. It’s just that Jesus has seemed to have ignored them or didn’t want them. If Jesus or His disciples ignored you or wanted to send you away, how would you respond? Most of us would be angry and go home.