Summary: Characteristics that Jesus valued in this mother and why that her faith was so important.
“The Nameless Mother with Great Faith”
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever known a person whose Character could be summed up in four words? Jesus did. He said to the Canaanite woman, “You have great faith.” We know that she was from the country north of Palestine, that she was married and had one daughter. We don’t even know her name, but she is included in scripture because of her faith. Jesus valued faith in people. Everywhere He went, He looked for a spark of faith in people. He didn’t always find it even in His disciples.
Jesus identified faith in this Gentile mother because of three things:
1. She crossed great barriers
2. She was persistent
3. She relied on Grace
1. She Crossed Great Barriers: She was prepared to cross any obstacle to turn to Jesus for help. Faith requires that we cross barriers that stand in our way of getting to Jesus. They could be barriers of doubt, culture, language, time or distance.
Although she was a Gentile who was not usually accepted by the Jews, she had love for her sick daughter to the point of being rebuffed by the disciples. She accepted Jesus’ silence toward her because she felt that He had enough compassion for people that he would not turn her away. She believed in not only his ability to help her but his WILLINGNESS to help her. The measure of our faith depends on what we SEE IN JESUS.
2. She was Persistent: She refused to be put off or intimidated. She was not going to take criticism or silence for an answer. When the disciples tried to discourage her, she went to Jesus himself. When Jesus didn’t respond as she thought he would, she still didn’t take “no” for an answer.
ILLUSTRATION: It has been said that persistence is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you get tired. You quit when the gorilla gets tired!
Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Jesus is saying, “You’re not included.” She said, “Lord, help me.” He answered a second time, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
She came up with another reply. She said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” (v. 27).
She was persistent and responded in different ways because she was insistent on the help for her daughter.
Story: Elmo Cringle
A teenager had decided to quit high school right before school was out saying he was just fed up with it. His father was trying to convince him to stick it out just a little bit longer. “Son,” he said, “you just can’t quit. All the people who are remembered in history didn’t quit. Abe Lincoln didn’t quit. Thomas Edison didn’t quit. Douglas MacArthur didn’t quit. Elmo Cringle didn’t quit.”
“Who?” burst in. “Who is Elmo Cringle?”
“See,” the father replied, “you don’t remember him because he quit!”
3. She relied on God’s GRACE--His unmerited favor.
When Jesus said that it didn’t seem right to take bread from the children of Israel and throw it to the dogs, she came up with an answer that identified his grace to her. She is saying, “it’s true I’m a Gentile but there must be some extra grace somewhere for me. I may not deserve it, but I am asking you for your help.