Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30

By David J. Riggs

   A. Jesus had taken His disciples across the northern border of    
      Israel into the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
      1. This is the only time, that we know of, Jesus went outside
         the borders of Palestine, except when, as an infant, he was
         carried into Egypt.
   B. Jesus probably wanted to rest a while and to give His disciples
      some private teaching.  Mark 7:24
      1. Also, the hostility of the evil Jews was becoming more
      2. Just prior to this, Jesus had told the Pharisees that they  
         had made void the word of God by their traditions.
         a. They were greatly offended by His words.
         b. Perhaps He wanted to escape everything for a while. 
            The time of His death was not yet near.
   C. It was during this time that a certain woman makes a plea to   
      Jesus and, as a result, receives a great blessing.
      1. Let's list some things we admire in this woman.

   A. This Syro-Phoenician woman, no doubt, had heard of the mighty
      works of Jesus, and she set about to obtain help from Him.
   B. She addressed Jesus as, "Lord, Son of David.  Matt. 15:22
      1. Jesus is indeed "Lord."  He is the Mighty God, the
         Everlasting Father, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords. 
         Isa. 9:6
   C. She knelt before Jesus.  Matt. 15:25
      1. The Greek word here for "kneel" means literally, "to
         prostrate oneself in homage" and is often translated
         "worship" in the N.T.
      2. Mark's account, using different words, says, "She came and
         fell at His feet."  Mark 7:25
   D. She also pleaded for mercy.  Matt. 15:22
      1. The demon possession in that day was something that was
         exceedingly terrible, to say the least.  Mark 9:14-29

   A. The Canaanite woman started with at least three strikes against
      1. She was Greek (a Gentile).  Mark 7:26
         a. Therefore, she was not of God's covenant people.
      2. She was a woman of Canaan.  Matt. 15:22
         a. When the people of Israel conquered the land of
            Canaan, God had commanded them to utterly destroy
            the Canaanites.
         b. The Israelites disobeyed, and eventually the pagan
            influences they tolerated were their downfall.
         c. By Jesus' day, the Jews had learned their lesson and had
            no contact whatsoever with the Canaanites.
      3. She was a Syro-Phoenician of the region of Tyre and Sidon.
         a. In the latter days of ancient Israel, before the         
            Babylonian captivity, the people in the region of Tyre   
            and Sidon became bitter enemies of Israel.
   B. When she came to Jesus, she is thrown three more strikes.
      1. At first, Jesus ignored her.  Matt. 15:23
         a. Thus, she finds Jesus, the gracious helper and healer,   
            not answering her at all.
         b. He did this, no doubt, to test her faith.
      2. The disciples were annoyed by her persistence, and wanted
         Jesus to send her away.  They said, "Send her away, for
         she cries out after us."  Matt. 15:23
         a. Jesus tells them, more or less, that He was not sent just
            to Israel.  He said, "I was not sent except to the lost
            sheep of the house of Israel."  Matt. 15:24
            (1) The prophets declared that the Messiah would
                bless, not only the Jewish nation, but all nations of
                the earth.  Rom. 15:9-12
            (2) He would be sent to be a light to the Gentiles. 
                Matt. 12:18-21
            (3) The "other sheep" of John 10:16 refers to the
      3. In the third strike, Jesus tells her, "It is not good to    
         take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." 
         Matt. 15:26
         a. The "children" refers to the Jews ("the children of the
            kingdom" - Matt.8:12), and the "little dogs" represent
            the Gentiles.
         b. Again, Jesus was testing her. The Jews considered the
            Gentiles no better than dogs, and He is seeing how she
            would react to these prejudices.
            (1) Will her prejudices drive her away?
         c. Many today, because they are prejudiced, will not listen
            to the truth.
         d. When they think that something offensive has been said
            - a derogatory expression of some kind - they make a
            quick exit.
   C. In spite of these barriers, the woman responded in great faith.
      She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs  
      which fall from their masters' table."
      1. With ready wit, she replied with a statement which
         demonstrated her faith.
      2. She was saying, more or less, "If possible, I'll take the
         crumbs of blessings."
      3. She was keeping her place.  She wanted, not the first       
         portion (the children's portion), but a portion still (the  
         crumbs which fall from the masters' table).
   D. The woman persevered in her faith under what could have been
      1. What is discouraging to some people, is not discouraging at
         all to the strong.
      2. Let us be numbered with the strong, and let nothing
         discourage us from living the Christian life.

   A. She, who had heard only the words of seeming contempt, now
      hears words of gracious commendation: "O woman, great is
      your faith! Let it be to you as you desire."
      1. Mark's account says, "Then He said to her, 'For this
         saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your
         daughter.' And when she had come to her house, she found
         the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed." 
         Mark 7:29-30 
      2. This is another of the "long-distance" healings which Jesus
      3. She was the second Gentile to obtain a blessing because of
         strong faith.
         a. The other was the Centurion.  Matt. 8:5-10
         b. In the N.T., Jesus is said to have marveled on two
            (1) Once at the Centurion's faith.  Matt. 8:10; Luke
            (2) Once at the Jews' unbelief.  Mark 6:6
      4. This Syro-Phoenician woman was greatly blessed; she
         received the help she so desperately needed.

   A. Respect for the Lord.
      1. He is the Lord, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the
         King of kings, and Lord of lords.
      2. Let us have awesome respect for Him and His word.
   B. Humility.
      1. We must be willing to take the lower seat.
      2. Let us not be discouraged if we don't receive the           
         recognition or the praise we might deserve.
   C. Persistence.  Consider, again, the obstacles the woman faced.
      1. There was, at first, the silence of Jesus.
      2. The disciples asked to send her away.
      3. When Jesus did speak, His words seemed to be very
      4. None of this discouraged her, nor caused her to leave.
      5. Let us be persistent in our request to God.  God yields to  
         the might of faith and prayer.
   D. Faith tested is a richer faith.
      1. Jesus could have at once given her what she wanted, but He
         tested her.
      2. She left with a fuller and richer faith in the end.
   E. Blessings flow bountifully from the Lord.
      1. The blessing of the gospel are for both Jew and Gentile. 
         Rom. 1:16
      2. There is a fountain open for all.  Zech. 13:1; John 4:14

   A. In Jer. 29:13 God declares, "...You will seek Me and find Me,
      when you search for Me with all your heart."
      1. Let us seek the Lord in faith.
      2. Let us seek the Lord in humility.
      3. Let us seek the Lord with all our hearts.
      4. Let us seek the Lord with complete obedience.
   B. When we do so, blessings will flow from the presence of the
      Lord.  Acts 3:19

Lessons Learned From This Miracle:

Respect For The Lord



Faith Tested Is A Richer Faith

Blessings Flow Bountifully From The Lord