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Sunday, August 28, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Matthew 15: 21-28

“O woman, GREAT is your FAITH! Let it be to you as you DESIRE.” And her daughter was HEALED from that very hour” – Matthew 15:28                              

MIRACLES are primarily provoked by the Quality of FAITH behind DESIRES of the HEART: “O woman, GREAT is your FAITH! Let it be to you as you DESIRE.” And her daughter was HEALED from that very hour” (Mt.15:28). Yesterday, we saw how a centurion’s faith secured his servant’s healing. Today’s text describes how Jesus healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman who demonstrated Great Faith. Both are the only two instances of healings from a distance and Gentile healing recorded by Matthew. And Jesus hailed them both for their faith.

Some commentaries call this a controversial miracle, not because of what Jesus did but because of whom He did it for. Up to this time His miracles had mostly focused on the Jews. But here Jesus performed a miracle for someone outside of the Jewish faith, and in doing so, provided a preview of His wider global ministry as not just a Messiah for the Jews, but the Saviour for all. This truth was prophesied in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the Church, and revealed at key moments in Jesus’ ministry, such as this. However, Jesus encountered the Canaanite woman in the context of His mission to Jews as their Messiah (Mt.10:5-6). Let us examine this passage in three parts: The Canaanite woman’s Request; Her Heart of Faith; and Christ’s Response.

Her Request (vv.21-22): This trip to Tyre and Sidon was the farthest north on record that Jesus travelled, perhaps specifically for the sake of ministering to this woman and her daughter. Whatever the reason, she came seeking His help for her little girl who was possessed by a demon. She must have heard about Jesus and His works, and believed that He could help her daughter. She cried out: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!” (v.22b). The expression “Son of David” shows that she, a Canaanite, recognized Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

Her Heart of Faith (vv.23-27): This was the predominant element in her exchange with Jesus. It was demonstrated in two ways: Her perseverance through various obstacles (vv.23-25); and belief in Jesus as Saviour for all (vv.26-27). First, she faced the barrier of Jesus’ silence. He ignored her cries. Next, she faced the obstacle of the disciples: They urged Jesus to send her away, being a nuisance. The greatest obstacle was when Jesus finally answered her with a devastating response: “I was sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v.24b). He is basically saying, “You are not a Jew, so I can’t help you.” But the woman persisted. She came to kneel before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” (v.25). He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (v.26).

Jesus’ response seemed quite harsh, but He simply meant that as the Jewish Messiah, at this point His ministry was primarily to the Jews. God’s Plan of Salvation was to choose a people through whom He would give the promises of salvation and from whom the Messiah would come. Salvation came first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles (Rom.1:16). Jesus used a word picture of children sitting around a table eating bread. We don’t take children’s food away from them and give it to the dogs. The children represented the Jews; and dogs, the Gentiles – including her and her daughter! Calling someone a dog was an insult in that culture. Yet, her faith stood firm! She even used Jesus’ own word picture to reframe her request: “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (v.27). She understood His words and Mission to the Jews, but then, asked for a special allowance of Mercy for her daughter!

Christ’s Response (v.28): He commended her remarkable understanding of His Mission and Great, Persistent Faith in His Power to deliver her daughter.  Finally, Jesus demonstrated His Power by casting the demon out of the girl from a distance. JESUS responds to Faith-driven Desires of the Heart with Miracles for His Glory!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, let the DESIRES of our HEARTS be propelled by Great, Persistent Faith that delivers MIRACLES for Your Glory, in Jesus name.
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