Summary: In this passage we see a gentile woman from a pagan land showing the humility and faith that is honored by the Lord. And at the same time we see Jesus closest disciples showing dishonor to the same woman. May we read and learn from this great passage.
If you would, please stand as we say together our memory Scripture for this quarter:
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
And our memory refresher Scripture is …
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 15:21-28 which we will read in a few minutes.
Today is Mother’s Day and I wonder if the people promoting Mother’s Day at the time of its conception would even recognize motherhood today?
Of course there are good and godly mothers around the world today.
But even in those who profess the name of Jesus you can witness the announcement of the pregnancy of an unwed woman with glee and congratulations! Unwed couples living together can be found teaching Sunday School and serving on church boards. I even read about a woman doctor whose entire practice is based on killing unborn babies declaring that she, herself, is a follower of Jesus Christ.
Outside the church it is even crazier! Opinion articles are written and published in national papers and periodicals proclaiming that the Mom who stays at home instead of working outside the home is less than what she should be and should be ashamed.
But, godly mothers who understand motherhood and the impact they can have on their children’s spiritual lives do a great service for the Kingdom of God.
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Matthew 15:21-28
Let’s go ahead and read through this passage again …
Verse 21: “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.”
Just prior to this event Jesus has just been in a debate with some Pharisees about righteousness that comes from the heart versus the false righteousness that comes from outward acts such as ceremonial hand washing.
It is obvious that the Pharisees did not change Jesus’ mind because He immediately heads into an area occupied not by Jews but by Gentiles.
And now He comes into contact with a Canaanite mother.
The Pharisees would not go to such a place because it would make them ceremonially unclean and would prevent them from entering into certain places in the temple and it would prevent them from participating in certain religious activities.
Mark 7:24-25 NIV says …
“Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet He could not keep His presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about Him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at His feet.”
Jesus goes into a ceremonially unclean area, enters a ceremonially unclean house and encounters a ceremonially unclean gentile.
That would make Jesus pretty unclean, right? Of course not!
We are called to go into the world to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need Him!
We are not called to go into the world to participate in sin with those who are lost but to show them in words and deeds that, “There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary and love for the broken heart. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing; He’ll meet you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus, cry out to Jesus!”
And that’s exactly what the Canaanite mother did as we see in verse 22 …
“A Canaanite woman (a mother) from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.’”
The people of Canaan were historical enemies of Israel.
They were idol worshipers who would intermarry with the Israelites and draw them away from serving the one true God.
The news of Jesus’ ability to heal had traveled far outside the bounds of Israel.
There were fake healers and shysters back then just as there are now but Jesus was the real thing; He really could heal!
So, this mother calls out to Jesus with, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Even after roughly 1,000 years the Canaanites would still remember King David and somehow she has heard that Jesus might even be the Jewish Messiah, the Son of David and she believes that He has the genuine power to heal.
So, this desperate mother comes to Jesus asking for mercy and the mercy is not for herself but for her daughter who is “demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”