King James Version (KJV)
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
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.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28)
This contains many valuable lessons for us….
1. This woman shows you what kind of faith you need to have.
She recognized that she was unworthy. She accepted what Jesus said. She accepted being called a ‘dog’. She recognized that the timing was not right — Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was sent primarily to the Israelites. But none of that stopped her.
She did not let her pride get in the way. When Jesus said this to the Canaanite woman, she could have become very angry. Many people in that situation would utter some oaths and told Jesus where He could go.
They would have said, “You can’t talk to me like that!”
But this woman didn’t react like that. Her need was too great to allow her pride to get in the way.
This woman saw that her only hope was in Jesus. She trusted in Him. Her faith was solely, exclusively, wholeheartedly in Him.
2. You and I are sinners – those who disobey God do not deserve God’s love or compassion.
Jesus referred to the Canaanite woman and her daughter as dogs. They were Gentiles, not of the Jewish race. In almost all Old Testament passages. Dogs were associated with uncleanness because they ate garbage, carrion, and corpses. In the rabbinic tradition ‘dog’ remained a term of reproach, referring to ‘the most despicable, insolent, and miserable of creatures.’ It was in this opprobrious sense that ‘dog’ was applied to Gentiles. The metaphor was common and varied in rabbinic speech, a fit description in the minds of Jews for Gentiles who were regarded as ignorant, godless, and pagan idolaters.
Jesus ignored her and her pleas for pity and help. It got so bad that the disciples came and urged Him to send her away, because she was such a bother. Some view it as likely that implicit in their words was a request to give her what she wanted. The disciples wanted to be rid of the woman and her embarrassing noise, but there is no indication that they did not want her daughter to be healed. This is supported by the fact that the disciples had never seen Jesus turn away anyone genuinely seeking his help; they would not have expected him to do it now.”
But Jesus does not respond as they expect. He refuses to help and said,
“I was sent
only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman was pitiful and her plight was great. But Jesus said that His mission was not to her. He refused to help.
At this point the woman gets even more desperate and comes and knells before Jesus. She pleads with Him. But Jesus remains adamant. Literally, He says that it would not be ‘good’ to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.
He is deadly serious. In light of His mission to the Jews, He says it would not be right for Him to hear her. If Jesus was smiling and saying this in a gentle manner the woman’s faith would not have been that remarkable. Her faith was great—firm in the face of very discouraging circumstances. It was because her faith was so great that Jesus finally granted her request.
Why was Jesus so unresponsive? Why was He so insulting to the woman and her daughter? I believe one of the reasons was that He was showing that none of us has a right to God’s love and compassion. Jesus treatment of her also dramatically shows that she had no right to His love.
Christianity is about grace, about mercy, about God bestowing His love and compassion on those who are unworthy. No sinner has a right or a claim to His love. This is true of the Israelites as well. The first three chapters of Romans shows us that Jews and Gentiles are all sinners and that none of us, in ourselves, have a right to God’s love.
This woman was a sinner, like the rest of us, unworthy of God’s love.
3. Jesus is overflowing with love and compassion.
He helped this woman in spite of the fact that she had nothing to commend herself to Him. She was not an Israelite. She had the most against her from a Jewish perspective. She was a woman, a Greek Gentile, from infamous pagans of Syrian Phoenicia. In a way you could say that He was not sent to her. Yet He granted her request. He healed her daughter.
Take it to heart, be assured if you go to Him in faith He will accept you.
In spite of His ignoring her, in spite of His telling them that He was not sent to her, in spite of His telling her that it would not be good to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs—she knew that He was the only One who could help her.
Thus she would go nowhere else. She persisted. She knew about Jesus’ power, she knew about His goodness—so she put all her hope in Him. In the end was her hope disappointed? No.
5. Timing and patience.
Put yourself in her situation. She wanted immediate relief for her daughter. But for awhile she was unsure it was going to come. If someone with a little theological knowledge was there perhaps he would have told her that she had to wait another year or two until the disciples would be sent to the Gentiles. But Jesus healed her daughter right then and there.
But very often, those who have faith in Jesus have to be patient and wait for God’s timing for the fulfillment of His promise, for His deliverance and relief.
Consider Abraham. He was promised that his children would be like the stars of heaven in number. But for years he was childless, until Sarah was well past childbearing age.
Consider Jairus. His daughter was dying. He went to Jesus and told Him about it. Jesus agreed to go with him to his daughter. But as they were going the crowd pressed against Jesus, and, a woman who was subject to bleeding secretly touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed. Jesus immediately stopped and asked who touched him. There was a commotion and a delay with Jesus asking who had touched him. Can you imagine how Jairus must have felt? If I was him I would have been very impatient, saying,
“Let’s get going. It really doesn’t matter who touched you. My daughter needs you now.”
But Jesus delayed until the woman came forward and owned up to what she had done. Just then a messenger came and informed Jairus that his daughter had died. What do you think Jairus thought of God’s timing then?
Consider Lazarus. He was sick. Jesus heard about it. Yet after He heard He waited two days before He started out. When He arrived there, Lazarus was already dead. Both Mary and Martha said to Him, (John 11:21,32)
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
God’s ways are often mysterious. But in every case, Abraham, Jairus, Lazarus—their hope in God, in Jesus—was not disappointed. Christians, trust God. Trust Him implicitly, completely, exclusively. Be persistent in prayer. Be hopeful in affliction. Jesus will make everything right.” Quote from sermon Canton New Life.