Summary: This sermon is about the contrast between Peter's faith when he was distracted when walking on the water. He took his eyes off Jesus. The Canaanite woman faced many distractions but refused to take her eyes off Jesus. some comments from Ray Pritchard Matthew 15
In Jesus Holy Name August 16, 2020
Text: Matthew 15:28 Pentecost XI - Redeemer
“Faith vs. Distractions” Part II
Matthew has another great story for us this morning. Matthew tells us about the faith of a Gentile woman. It is a lesson for us about over coming distractions, which Peter failed to do when he tried to walk on water. Both Peter and the Canaanite mother faced distractions.
Peter took his eyes of Jesus because he was distracted. His faith then faltered. Matthew wants to show us another individual who when confronted with distractions reacted differently.
After the miracle of feeding more than a stadium filled with people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish….along the shore of Galilee; after Jesus and Peter walk on the stormy sea of Galilee it was time for a break. Matthew writes: Leaving that place Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon, modern day Lebanon.
Jesus ventured outside the confines of Israel and entered the Gentile region, but even here the stories of a prophet named Jesus was not a secret. Word had spread far and wide that Jesus had supernatural power to heal the sick and raise the dead. Even in this Gentile territory, people knew about His ministry, and that’s why one particular woman came to see Him.
She is called a Canaanite, meaning she descended from the Canaanites in the Old Testament who were mortal enemies of the Jewish people. She had many things going against her that day. She was not Jewish. She was a woman. But her daughter was very sick.
Every parent can understand this. If you have a sick child, how far will you go to help your son or daughter? To ask the question is to answer it. It’s not a matter of time or distance or money. When your son is sick or your daughter is ill, nothing matters except getting them well again. When your child is sick, you don’t care about test results, x-rays, percentages, new medicines, research protocols, or anything like that. “People just want to know one thing: ‘Is my child going to be all right?’” Nothing else matters.
We love miracle stories because they have happy endings, but this one starts in a strange way. Jesus’ response to this woman seems peculiar and perhaps even cruel. Did our Lord not believe her story? Did he not care about her daughter? (from a sermon by Ray Pritchard Matthew 15)
When the woman came up to him begging for help, he refused to answer her:
Matthew writes: “Jesus did not answer a word” (v. 23).
This woman is about to be overwhelmed by distractions. Nothing terrifies the soul like the silence of heaven.
1) Jesus did not answer a word….
2) That did not stop her. She kept crying out and begging for His attention. She is then confronted by 12 disciples who keep pushing her away. The scene was like any secret service agent who has the responsibility to stand between the President and the crowd. Don’t get too close!
3) The disciples are frustrated… “Jesus, she keeps crying out after us.” Just send her away…. She is not Jewish…. She doesn’t deserve your kindness.
4) Now Jesus speaks but they are words meant to distract.
a. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
b. She is not distracted by words of refusal… she gets in His path and kneels in front of Jesus, grabbing His attention.
Nothing terrifies the soul like the silence of heaven.
It happens to all of us from time to time. We wait and pray and seek the Lord, and yet the heavens are silent. When that happens, you must not let your feelings rule your heart. Jesus did not speak immediately to this Canaanite woman, but he heard everything she said. Jesus is making a silent statement about faith. In the end, she got what she wanted, and her suffering daughter was healed.
God's silence does not always mean God's refusal. His "no" doesn't always mean "no." It often means "not this, not now, not yet." In this case, Jesus wanted to bring out the woman’s faith, not only for her benefit but also for the disciples who were watching. …. “Peter are you listening?” There is a reason Matthew wants to contrast the faith of Peter who doubted when distractions confronted him, and this non Jewish woman whose faith was not distracted.
As far as the disciples were concerned, she was just some strange, sad, pagan woman who kept on bothering them. They had little use for a Canaanite woman. But every time they told her to “Hush!” she kept on crying out for mercy for her daughter. The more they brushed her off, the more determined she became.