What does a parent do when her child is sick? How does she cope with the stress/grief/anxiety when she sees her child in pain and suffering? Where does she go for help? To what extent will she be willing to go to get her child well?
21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.
Tyre and Sidon were famous in the ancient Near East. Both are now located in Lebanon, with Tyre 20 mi south of Sidon and only 12 mi north of the Israel-Lebanon border.
The mother was a Canaanite woman from that region; thus considered foreigner and Gentile to the Jews. Her daughter was gravely sick – demon-possessed. The mom cried out to Jesus: Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David. She kept shouting even when Jesus didn’t answer her cries.
Why? Jesus told his disciples: I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Implication: Not to foreigner or a Gentile like her.
So on top of crying, the woman came to bow down and plead: Lord, help me!
Jesus’ reply? See v.26. Implication: You’re not fitting to receive help from me.
Woman’s response? v.27 How did she take the ‘insult?’
Yes, Lord. (she still called Him Lord. And she agreed. She knew her status, a foreigner, not fitting to receive anything.) Still she pleaded, give me just the crumbs then. Implications: She believed that even crumbs would get her daughter healed. She’s willing to get whatever that would be given her.
The final result? Jesus commended her. “Your faith is great.”
What are the signs of a great faith? That you get what you asked for? Nope. That is just a possible or probable result.
The true sign of a great faith is one that Jesus commends. Why did Jesus commend her? Because of her persistence? Not really.
I believe the woman was praised for her faith because she believed the One whom she called on for help even as she knew her own place. That Jesus is the Lord who has mercy, He is the one who can help her. That He is the master who decides what to give to the dogs. She was humble to the point of willing to take whatever Jesus would give her. Jesus commended her even before He healed her child.
He said “your faith is great. And because of that, it “shall be done for you as you wish.”
Praying in faith is
1) Calling on the Lord to have mercy. v.22
2) Bowing to the Lord and asking for help. v.25
3) Willing to take even crumbs from the master. v. 27
God does give grace to the humble.