“O woman, great is your faith!” Matthew 15:28
What caused Jesus to say these words to a Canaanite woman?
These words were not said directly to any other person by Jesus, although He did say the same thing about the centurion, another Gentile.
Let’s look at the faith of this woman and see what we can do to have the same type of faith!
We can find this story in Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:24-30. We learn that Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon to get away from the crowds. The passage says that He doesn’t want anyone to know He has there, but His fame has spread before He arrives. This is the only time that we know of where He went outside Jewish territory, but He had a divine appointment to meet the need of this woman of faith.
There are many obvious evidences of faith in these two passages:
- We see this woman’s faith right away in the title she gives Jesus.
In Matthew 15:22, she says, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David;” She understood who Jesus was. This was the title which the Jews used in speaking of the Messiah. She believed Him to not only be a miracle worker, but to be the Savior!
- Her persistence in her request showed her faith.
In Matthew 15:23, it says that Jesus did not answer her a word. A Gentile had no right to approach Him as Lord, Son of David. After the disciples ask Him to send her away, He answers, “I was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He made His mission known. But she did not give up. She kneels before Him and rephrases her question. She said, “Lord, help me.” She drops the title “Son of David”, and worships Him as her Lord.
“If she couldn’t come to Him as a Jew to her Messiah, she would come as a creature to her Creator.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary)
- She shows her faith in her responses. Jesus tells her that it would not be right to take the children’s bread (He came to seek and save the Jews), and throw it to the dogs (the Gentiles). But she did not become discouraged or upset. Instead, she acknowledged His statement and used the faith-filled words, “Yet even!”
Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.
I like this quote from Poole about her perseverance:
She accepted Jesus’ description and asked for mercy despite it – or perhaps because of it. She would not give over, though he gave her three repulses. So as she said, like Jacob, I will not thee go, until thou bless me. And as he, like a prince, so she, like a princess, prevailed with God and obtained the thing which she desired.
I contemplated the fact that Jesus marveled at her faith. Why was her faith so amazing? Why did she, of all the people who asked Jesus for a miracle, get the answer, “O woman, great is your faith!”?
My conclusion was because she came to the Lord in the following manner:
- Knowing He was the Lord.
- Believing He could answer.
- Persevering until He did answer.
Do I want my requests answered? Of course I do! Then I need to follow her model. I know He is my Lord. I believe He can answer. But I often give up. I don’t persevere. I forget to pray. Look at these verses:
- James 4:2 — Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
- Matthew 7:7-8 — Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
- John 14:3-14 — And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- John 15:16 — Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
- John 16:23-24 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
- Luke 11:8-10, 13– I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Now I am not a “name it, claim it” Christian. I know God can answer, “No” or “Wait.” I know all things must be according to His will. But I also know that he told me to ask. And He wants me to go on asking. We see that her faith was commended and marveled at by Jesus Himself! So go on asking.
It was faith that conquered over the silence of Jesus. It was faith that conquered over the seaming reluctance of Jesus. It was faith that won. Chuck Smith
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