Summary: Message about the please of a Canaanite woman for her daughter’s healing.

The Value of Persistent Faith

Matthew 15:21-28

January 14, 2007

When Noble was just a little baby, he faced a life-threatening illness (details); we’ve also had other children who, when we went to the hospital, had rather slim outlooks.

And all Debra and I could do was cry and cry out to God.

Begging God on behalf of a sick or injured child is something some of us, maybe even most of us have done.

The child is in the hospital, and kissing the boo-boo doesn’t make it go away anymore. It’s serious, and maybe even life-threatening. And we can’t do anything about it.

Except beg God to bring healing.

And if you’ve ever done that, you know the heartache and desperation that goes with that.

It might not be a child for you, but it could be a friend or loved one who is sick or injured, or whose soul is in danger.

Same for those who have watched their children walk away from Jesus.

You’ve done all you can to tell them about Jesus and model Him to them, but they simply walk away for some reason or another.

Or it could be that you feel you haven’t done that, and now you wish you had, because they’re missing out on something you’ve just discovered for yourself.

We’ve known the feeling of being so desperate for something that we simply couldn’t sit back and wait.

We needed to act – do what we could ourselves and pray that God would do something huge.

It’s hardest when we simply can’t do anything. It’s beyond our control.

It may just be that you need God to intervene in a specific situation that only He and you know about, but if you don’t get some divine help, then there’s no hope.

Well, the good news is that we’re not alone in any of that.

Scripture has examples of how God has moved in situations like these, and today’s passage is one of those examples.

The lady in our example didn’t come to Jesus because her child was injured, but because she was suffering from something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone – being possessed by a demon.

Let’s look at this passage, and I want you to pay attention in particular to the faith and persistence of the woman.

Matthew 15:21-28 (p. 693) –

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs."

27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table."

28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Am I the only one here who thinks that, at least on the surface, Jesus’ first response to this lady was a little harsh?

First He ignores her, then says basically, “Look lady, I’m busy with the people I’m supposed to be busy with, okay?”

This is one of those passages of Scripture that at first makes me just scratch my head and go, “Whaaa…..?”

So why is He acting like this and saying this?

Jesus’ point here wasn’t that He wasn’t willing to help, or that the Gentiles couldn’t have help from God, but rather that His mission was to focus on Israel, on the Jews.

They were to have first crack at the Messiah, and it would be them who took the news of the Messiah to the Gentiles.

Jesus was simply trying to make sure that He wasn’t dragged off task.

But let’s look at the lady for a bit, okay?

She understood the idea of the Messiah, that He would be the Son of David, so she was familiar with the Scriptures, at least to some degree.

There was a temple dedicated to a pagan god of healing just three miles from Sidon, but she comes to Jesus.

She agrees with His priority of making sure the “children” are fed first, but expands His example by saying that she could be “fed” even as the others are being fed.

She’s not saying, “Help me first or instead of them,” she’s saying, “Help me while You’re feeding them.”

She sticks to him like a bulldog on a mailman, because she knows that Jesus is the only hope for healing her daughter.

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