Great Faith 💪 (Matthew 15:21-28)
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Great Faith 💪 (Matthew 15:21-28)

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Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a spiritual reality that changes HOW I SEE EVERYTHING.

Overall Commentary: 🌎

Jesus left Jewish territory to an area thought of as 'enemy' territory by most Jews of the time. Is this where He had to find an example of great faith? Maybe. Jesus gave this great title to the only person outside the Jewish world.

Jesus shows us what GREAT FAITH LOOKS LIKE.


Verse 22-

  • Tyre and Sidon- This area was known for its paganistic worship. The prophets of the Old Testament had condemned it in several places.

Verse 22-

  • Gentile woman- the most literal translation of this is Canaanite woman. This would have been a big deal to Jewish readers. They viewed the Canaanites as their mortal enemies. They were the people Joshua was supposed to depose in the book of Joshua. He didn't, and their paganistic influence was a continual thorn in their side. They would have viewed this whole story as scandalous.
  • "O Lord, Son of David."- This is amazing. She is already calling Him something that the disciples were still grappling with.
  • Demon-possessed- There are several ways that someone who is not saved can open themselves to full demonic possession. One of the most frequent ways is exposure to the occult and occult sacrifices. Because this lady comes from a paganistic background, it is possible to assume this may be where the problems have come from. However, it is important to note the Bible is silent on this, so it is only a hypothesis.

Verse 23-

  • Tell her to go away- Due to the way the Greek syntax is constructed, it is possible they were not asking Jesus to send her away empty-handed. It may be accurate to say it like this, "Just give her what she wants so she'll go away." Either way, they still do not understand great faith.

Verse 24-

  • Only to Help the Lost Sheep- Jesus' primary ministry was to reach out to the Jewish nation and fulfill several prophecies of the Old Testament. Clearly, this is not all He was doing because He is in Gentile territory. He has also helped Gentiles a lot already. He likely says this to her for multiple reasons. (1) She referred to Him as the Son of David. Jesus is possibly saying, "I thought you said I was only the Messiah to the Jews." This would have been a way to draw out her faith and make it more personal. Jesus is also showing the disciples again the great faith this woman has. Even though she has no reason to expect anything of Him, she still asks.

Verse 25-

  • Worship- She is no longer simply showing respect. She makes it personal and begins to worship.
  • Lord, help me.- A wonderfully simple prayer. Sometimes, this is the best prayer you can pray.

Verse 26-

  • Children- This is clearly referring to the children of Israel.
  • Dogs- Dogs were seen as reviled creatures during this time. They were basically land vultures. This would have been a terrible insult unless you realize how Jesus said it. There was another kind of dog. They also had domesticated family pets that would sleep in the Master's lap and were a beloved family member. Back then, there was no such thing as dog food, so they ate what the family ate. Jesus is saying, "I'm on my primary mission. You have to wait." Jesus wasn't calling her a dog in a derogatory sense. This was a kind term of endearment. Knowing that Jews and Canaanites called each other the other kind of dog, Jesus used this term with a smile and a twinkle in His eye. It's almost like saying, "You call each other dogs, but you're special to me."

Verse 27-

  • Even the dogs- She rolls with what Jesus is saying and possibly finally understands what is happening. Jesus is telling her He will do a miracle she has no right to, but He will do it anyway. She's right there with Him and is thankful. Once again, this is not an insult; this is being invited to a party you had no business attending anyway.

Verse 28-

  • Your faith is great. He finally finds great faith. Her faith was persistent and consistent, and she let Jesus do it His way. In the end, Jesus healed her daughter and used her story to teach us all.

Top Takeaway- Jesus also uses our story to grow us and others.

One of the aspects of miracles that I don't like talking about is that to get a miracle... you have to need one. This lady was in a terrible situation. Jesus used her great faith to grow her and teach the disciples, and He is still teaching us today. You never know what God is doing in your life and current situation. He is likely doing more than you can imagine. Your only option is to trust Him and take whatever next step is before you. Only God knows what testimonies await you "when you get home."

Message Notes

Further Resources for Deeper Study

Specific Resources to this Text

Commentary on Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28 - Working Preacher from Luther Seminary
Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman is unsettling. Jesus is less than eager to help this woman, explaining that his mission is first to the house of Israel. However, Jesus is the one who has left Jewish territory and invaded this woman’s world. Furthermore, this Canaanite woman — an unclean, outsider — demonstrates that she … Continue reading “Commentary on Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28”
Woman, Great Is Your Faith!: My Sermon on Matthew 15:21-28
What can an unnamed Canaanite woman teach us about faith in Jesus? A great deal, it turns out. Here is my sermon on the woman who begged Jesus for crumbs from the master’s table.
“A Faith that Won’t Give Up!” (Matthew 15: 21-28) - Holy Cross Lutheran Church
In Matthew 15 we read that after Jesus had yet another “run in” with the Pharisees who had come from Jerusalem to scrutinize His actions and criticize His failure to follow the ceremonial traditions of the elders, He and His disciples withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon, two Mediterranean seaside villages northwest of […]
Crumbs (Matthew 15:21-28) —
O Woman, Great is your Faith! [Matthew 15:21-28] | Gospel Light Christian Church