The Woman of Great Faith
Agatha Christie, a 20th century English Mystery novelist, and a mother, wrote, “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that it stands in its path.” Mothers are known to be persistently protective of their children that people coined the term, Mama Bear. A Mama Bear is a metaphor for a mother who does not easily give up. An example of a Mama Bear is found right here in Matthew 15:21-28. This is the story of a persistent mother who was honoured by Jesus for her great faith. She came to Jesus with a request to heal her daughter from demonic oppression, she ended up kneeling before the Lord in worship.
1. She recognized Jesus as Lord and Messiah.
“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 demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word.”
· From Gennesaret, Jesus withdrew to the Gentile Territory of Tyre and Sidon.
· The Sidonians were ancient enemies of Israel. Cf Joshua 11.
· This was the only occasion where we see Jesus going out of Jewish territory.
· Jesus purposefully went to this Greek Region. See Mat.15:21
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
· It was a divinely appointed time for Jesus to meet the Canaanite woman. Mat.15:22.
· She recognized Jesus as the Son of David – a Messianic title found in the Jewish scriptures. The Messiah is also Lord of all.
2. She demonstrated her faith.
“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 the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Matthew 15:23-27.
· Back in Matthew 14, Jesus described Peter as having “little faith.”
· In comparison with Peter, the Canaanite woman displayed great faith in the Lord, and never had any doubt about who Jesus is – Lord, the Son of David.
· So many Jews have rejected Jesus as the One sent from above, and yet this Canaanite mother never stopped believing that Jesus is Lord and the promised Messiah of Israel.
· “Dogs” must not be taken as an insult or a derogatory remark from Jesus. The Greek word used for dogs here is kunaria (G2952) which refers to puppies or pets, and they are part of the family.
· She did not want to deprive Israel of God’s blessings and she was simply asking for a little.
3. Her great faith secured Jesus’ blessing.
“28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”
· There were only two people in the Bible that received such wonderful praise from Jesus –this Canaanite woman and the centurion in Capernaum.
“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Mat. 8:10.
Her faith is great because…
· She recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Not too many Jews recognized Jesus for who He was.
· She did not have the opportunity to be spiritually nourished in the Jewish religion, and yet God gave her a way to know Jesus as Lord.
· She was persistent. She has an undying hope in the Lord.
· By faith, she took her daughter’s need as her own and brought this before Jesus.
· She truly worshipped Jesus from the heart. She began with a request, and she ended up kneeling before Jesus.
Conclusion: Great faith can be found in unexpected places and people. Jesus desires for us to learn from this Canaanite woman and imitate her godly examples. We must also honour our mothers the same way Jesus did. Be kind to them and help them in every way we can. On the other hand, mothers must pray for their children always. Our children may not be suffering from demonic oppression, but they are still being influenced by Christ’s enemies to lure them away from God.