Matthew 15:21-28 Wonderful, Desperate Faith

by | Nov 14, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

John 8:29 Jesus pleased the Father w/everything He did. His words & deeds were always right
John 3:34 Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, & led by the Spirit in all that He did
John 6:4-6 Sometimes, God tests us. Tests show what are inside of us. Bring out the best/worst
John 1:14 Whatever Jesus did, He was always completely gracious and completely truthful
Hebrews 4:15 (Jesus was) ”…without sin”. Whatever we see Jesus doing, He never sinned

I. The Woman’s Initial Approach

A. Great Need- Demon Possessed Daughter V. 22

1. Terribly sad & frightening home life
2. Maybe stigmatized by friends, they pitied the family, but they could not help
3. Social life greatly impacted. Difficult to have people over for dinner, etc.
4. Living in fear & danger from what the demon might do to or thru the daughter
5. Whatever paganism she practiced could not help: it was the cause, not the cure

B. What She Says-“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!” V. 22

1. Gospel of Mark says she was a Syro-Phoenician: Syrian &Phoenician blood
2. Phoenicia- present day Lebanon
3. “Son of David” is a Jewish phrase that was foreign to her culture
4. Perhaps this is the “formula” that she believed she needed to get help from Jesus
5. She probably would have been willing to say anything

II. The Obstacles She Encountered

A. She Was A Woman

1. Jewish man’s prayer: “Lord thank you that I am not a Gentile, a woman, or a dog.”

a. She probably knew that the Jews felt this way about women
b. She may have sensed gender discrimination from the disciples

2. She Was A Gentile

a. Probably involved in idol worship
b. Ashtarte was the main goddess of the Syro-Phoenecians: goddess of war & sex
c. Tyre & Sidon: major centers of Ashtarte worship
d. Her idolatrous life/culture offensive to the Disciples. She had to sense that

3. Her Demon Possessed Daughter

a. Perhaps some guilt over her daughter’s condition
b. How did that girl become demon possessed?
c. Did mom’s lifestyle contribute to that sad fact?
d. Was mom full of guilt for going along w/the culture, w/this being the result?
e. Maybe some degree of feeling unworthy to ask, having caused the problem

D. Jesus & Disciples Were Trying To Rest

1. Mark 7:24 “And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it…”
2. The disciples wanted her to be sent away. She felt that opposition from them

E. Jesus’ Strange Responses To Her & The Disciples

1. V. 23a Jesus didn’t even respond to her at first
2. V. 23b Jesus then responds to the disciples in her presence, but not to her
3. Disciples wanted Jesus to grant her request & send her away. V. 24 supports this

III. Jesus Brings Forth Great Faith

A. She Began With A Formula- “Son Of David” V. 22

1. Jesus didn’t respond to her “religious speak”; she was emulating others
2. God is looking for heartfelt relationship; “in spirit & in truth” (John 4:24)

B. Jesus Brings Needed Perspective To Her

1. Jesus reminded her that she was outside of the “Chosen people”
2. Simply, that God chose to first reveal Himself to the Jews
3. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He focused His ministry on the Jews
4. She is made to realize that in big picture, Gentiles are not the focus or priority

a. See Matthew 10:5, 6
b. God always intended to include Gentiles. (“Other sheep”; John 10:16)
c. Maybe a nationalistic pride/identity in her that needed to be rooted out
d. She is not “one of the children”, but one of the “little puppies”

i. 2 Greek words- “scavenging mongrel”; “little puppy”
ii. That culture did not use napkins
iii. They wiped their hands w/bread, & threw it on the floor

5. Jesus gently communicated to her, “You’re not the center of the universe”
6. Also, that “You’re not a Jew, don’t act like one. Come just as you are”.

C. Her Progression To “Great Faith”

1. She goes from a formula w/Jesus to true worship of Jesus
2. She goes on to have a more humble view of herself, & a higher view of Jesus
3. She goes from having a need, to now having great faith, and a healed daughter
4. She does not dictate to Jesus, but humbly asks in faith “for the crumbs”

D. Jesus Aims At Our Higher Need

1. He could have quickly healed her daughter and sent this woman home
2. The disciples would have been immediately relieved. They wanted to relax
3. The woman would have been completely happy, & gone on with life as usual
4. But she would not have left with a worshipping faith
5. Jesus’ seeming indifference & lack of response brings us to greater faith

a. Jesus tests this woman’s sincerity; He sometimes tests ours by no response
b. He reminds her of her place in life; sometimes we need fresh humility
c. He reminds her (and us) of Who he is; Jesus isn’t a Cosmic Bellboy

6. Jesus is aiming at bringing forth faith in her, and healing her daughter

E. Lessons For Us

1. You may have a desperate need; it might be your fault; maybe you feel unworthy
2. God will use that problem (that maybe you caused) to bring you to Jesus
3. You might come w/a formula of what you should say or do to get results
4. Jesus wants sincerity, tenacity, humility, and worship
5. His delays are designed to show us more of His glory, to answer our prayer, and to increase our faith
6. Jesus gave her much more than crumbs; he developed in her great faith