Summary: Look at the conduct of the Syrophonecian woman, which caused Jesus to say, "Great is your faith... Be it unto you..."
NOTE: THanks to Wayne Huntley for the idea for this message - I heard him preach a similar message as a teenager (30 years ago) and it has stayed with me...
22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." 24 But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" 26 But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs." 27 And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table." 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matt 15:22-28 (NKJV)
GREAT FAITH IS FOUND IN UNLIKELY PEOPLE.
Only two times did Jesus mention great faith. Text, and Matt 8 – Roman centurion… both Gentiles. All around were likely candidates. This woman tried to convince Jesus that she was a likely candidate (“Oh Lord, Son of David” would only have been said by a Jew).
Have you ever found yourself on the outside looking in? “If I could just be one of them, I would be more likely to get what I need. If I just knew more…”
If others are more deserving, or more gifted… good news. Great faith is found in unlikely people.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise… 1 Cor 1:26-27 (NKJV)
Quit wishing you were someone else. Quit pretending you’re someone else. Quit pretending you know more than you do. Really – you only need to know one thing… That brings us to our next point.
GREAT FAITH IS ALWAYS PLACED IN JESUS.
This woman knew something that the more likely candidates around her had missed. She knew that Jesus was her only hope.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalms 20:7 (NIV)
The “likely” didn’t receive because they had too much to fall back on.
Rom 12:3 – “…God has given to every man the measure of faith”. That measure is Jesus.
Not the only faith – but it is the only great faith.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
GREAT FAITH DEMONSTRATES PERSISTENCE.
This woman’s persistence is incredible. [story] Persistence is a sign of two qualities:
- awareness of need
- awareness of available supply
I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to the woman at the well…
…if you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you… John 4:10 (NKJV)
Jesus told a parable to his disciples about this…
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ’Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ’Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ " 6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV)
Will he find people that are persistent – people that need him enough, and know him enough – to keep asking?
GREAT FAITH IS CHARACTARIZED BY WORSHIP.
When she was refused, she worshipped… There are at least two forms of praise – thanksgiving and worship.
- Thanksgiving is a response to a gift, worship is a gift
- Thanksgiving is sometimes, worship is anytime
- Thanksgiving is based in what He has done, worship based in who He is.
- Anyone can offer thanksgiving, but worship can only come from people of faith.