Summary: Today we see how the faith of a Canaanite woman found expression in the apparent rejection of her by Christ.
1. The scene before us seems very wrong. The reactions and words of Jesus are not what I would have expected them to be. If I were only able to share one story from His ministry with an unbeliever, surely this is not the one that I would chose, for the impression they would get about Jesus would not seem to show who He really was.
2. We get a picture of Jesus who ignores someone in need, who is indifferent, who says "get lost, you are not good enough to receive my help".
3. If we would quickly read this passage and go on to next, that is the impression that we might be left with. This passage is so different from the rest of the gospel. Was Jesus just having a bad day? Do we see a crack in His perfect love and compassion?
4. Lets find out what was really going on here.
1. Jesus had been very busy. He had been in Gennesaret. After feeding, 5,000 sought rest but got little - had to rescue disciples in boat from storm. When He got to Gennesaret, people came for healing and Pharisees came to challenge Him.
2. He knew the end was soon coming and also wanted some time alone with His disciples. Jesus did something that He had not done before or would do again during His ministry. He left Jewish territory, going north thru Galilee to Tyre and Sidon.
3. Even here Jesus was not free from the demands of people. A Canaanite woman came to Him, crying out for help.
4. The disciples seem to care more than Jesus does, Usually they were the ones who tried to chase away the people, even people from seeing Jesus and He would be the one who would want them to come to Him. Jesus ignores her so disciples asks Him to send her away - really saying- Jesus, heal her, give her what she wants - so she can go away.
5. The disciples don’t really care for her. They see her as a nuisance and they just want her gone.
a. I have to confess that sometimes I feel just like they do. Someone comes to me or to church with a need - perhaps money, perhaps a prayer, and they come at a time when I just want to be left alone. So I quickly grant their request so I can get on with what I wanted to do.
b. Have you ever felt that way? Are there people you consider a bother? You may help them, but you really don’t feel much compassion for them? And when we help, we wonder why they don’t appreciate it or don’t embrace our faith or come to our church
c. Perhaps they can tell we don’t really care about them.
6. Even though Jesus seems to not care, He cares much more. Would have been easy to quickly heal her. I see two reasons why he did not do that.
a. He wanted to reach disciples something - how to care.
b. He cared for her deeper needs. He was more concerned about her faith.
7. He was testing her faith. (eg. Abraham and Sarah). Not seeing whether it was real - for Jesus knew her heart, but to help her express her faith and to enable to be stronger to withstand future tests.
8. I want to be careful how we see this. Some would say that she got what she wanted because of her persistence. Come to God right way and we will get what we want. Remember Jesus made first move - He came to Gentile territory, to her turf.
9. He did not initially reject her plea and then change his mind.
10. We take a look at her faith and how it withstood apparent rejections from Jesus. Perhaps we can see if our faith would do the same.
11. The woman somehow knew who Jesus was -- Lord - God Himself. He was the son of David, the promised Messiah. The beginning of faith is the acceptance of who Jesus really is.
12. She makes no demands. But the woman in a pleading voice, cries out, " have mercy on me". You don’t have to help me, you don’t owe me, but I plead for your mercy and grace.
a. Oh that we might be less demanding of God and more like this woman.
13. The woman was pleading for her daughter who was possessed by a demon - a demon was in control of her daughter and she suffered terrible torment. Her daughters need was hers - she identified with her pain - it became her pain. As mothers or fathers - how do we not suffer with our children, even as our heavenly Father does.