Zion Baptist Church
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Baptist Missionary Association of America
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By Mrs. Connie Reifsteck - March 2010

A Gentile Shows Her Faith

Matthew 15:21-28


willing to seek the Lord, show faith, worship


obstinate in her appeal


mindful of things going on in the world


acted to fix her situation


W - willing to seek the Lord
vs. 21 & 22   Jesus headed toward Tyre and Sidon, two seaport cities which were among predominately heathen and Gentile people.
     She came out. Jesus had gone to this area maybe to avoid the anger of the Pharisees which resulted from His public exposure of their hypocritical faultfinding. Read the beginning of chapter 15 for "the rest of the story."  We don't know if Jesus actually got within the "city limits" or was just out of town or what, but we know He was in the area. This woman knew to come and look for him.
     She showed faith in that she believed He could help her daughter, based on what she had head about Jesus.
     She worshiped Jesus in the course of their exchange.
O - obstinate in her appeal
vs. 22 She cried out to Him (this is the first time)
     She was prayerfully appealing, speaking out loud her request. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!" The suffering of her demon possessed daughter obviously distressed her very much, and caused her great anguish. Her child was harassed by the demon spirit. Like their master, the devil, these demon spirits seek out those whom they can devour.
     By calling out to Jesus in this way, she was acknowledging Him as the Son of David, which He was.  He didn't answer her, or seem to even acknowledge she was speaking to Him (vs. 23). (It wasn't until she addressed Him as "Lord" in verses 25 and then in verse 27 that Jesus responded favorably.)
     Apparently she was causing such a fuss she might have been attracting a crowd, and the disciples were getting embarrassed; or maybe they were fearful they might be mobbed in this foreign country. And she was disturbing their effort to find some peace and rest after having had their verbal skirmish with the Pharisees. It's almost like they want Jesus to give this woman what she wants so she'll go away and leave them alone. They weren't as concerned about her situation and the problem of her daughter as they were fearful that she would keep creating a scene and drawing attention to them.
     But even with the disciples' entreaty to do something about this woman, Jesus seems to respond negatively. He says "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In Matthew 10:5&6  Jesus gave instructions to his disciples saying the same thing. Read Psalm 79:12, The Gentiles and the heathen were not His priority. He was sent first to the Jews. He said this to His disciples where this woman could hear Him. This was a reminder to her of her hateful ancestry, and her inherited hopeless case of Jewish unconcern. Jesus was not for her or her people. (At least, not at this time. John 1:11, 12; Acts 13:46; Romans 9:4 explains when Jesus became available to the Gentiles.)
     Then in vs. 25 she cries out again, but this time she cries out in worship. She has come of her own choosing, appealing, with humility and perseverance, worshiping Him. This cry, "Lord, help me!" This cry was a salvation, a distress, a rescue appeal, and Jesus would respond, because He kept talking to her, even though He wasn't yet answering her direct plea.
     Still Jesus seems not inclined to help her, telling her it wasn't meet to take he children's bread and give it to dogs. What Jesus had to offer had to first be offered to the Jews, God's chosen people. The dogs were the Gentiles and heathen, people separated from the covenant of promise to Abraham.
     And this is what opened the door for more conversation between Jesus and this Gentile woman. Because now she responds to Jesus, Yes the dogs don't get the hunk of bread, but they do get the crumbs that fall from the table. She conceded the priority of Jewish first claim on Jesus; but then seizes on that term of dog, something unclean, to acknowledge her moral uncleanness, and showing that she and her daughter had a need that only Jesus could satisfy.
M - mindful of things going on in the world
     This woman must have heard of Jesus, and of the miracles He had performed. She must have been aware of the kinds of miracles He did, to bring her specific case to Him. She was willing to go to Him to receive a miracle.
A - acted to fix her situation
     She admitted she had a need, the healing of her daughter. She knew somehow that Jesus was going to be in her area. She went out to meet him and make her appeal. She acknowledged Him as Lord, and obstinately hung on, making her plea.
N - necessity drove her to seek a solution
     Her daughter needed to be made whole. She had heard about someone who could help. It was necessary for her to persevere, and keep on asking for help, even in the face of Jesus' refusal.
     After she acknowledged to Jesus by the crumbs and dog analogy that she was not worthy, and not His priority, still He was Lord, and could meet her needs. And because of that attitude, Jesus answered her "o woman, great is thy faith! Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." He heeded her cry. And "her daughter was made whole from that very hour." She was made completely well from the emotional and mental bondage in which she had been held by demon power.
     Now Jesus is speaking directly to her, and answering her pleas favorably. He acknowledges her earnestness and humility and worship with immediate action. This is such a special contrast for Who He is, and treat Him accordingly.
     When Jesus liberates us, sets us free, we are fee indeed.