Matthew 15:21-28 “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Have you ever risen to a challenge? Have you risen to a challenge for a loved one? This story is about a mother who was in great despair for her daughter who was demon-possessed. This is an extraordinary example of how Jesus strengthened the mother’s faith by causing her to rise to a challenge. Not only did the challenge bring her to God but through persistent prayer and unwavering faith her prayer was answered!
The mother was a Canaanite, a gentile from the region of Tyre and Sidon who was raised to believe in false gods. To the Jews, she was unclean and unwelcomed. As far as they were concerned, she had no rights. She was from a race that the Jews despised. The mother heard about a rabbi in Nazareth named Jesus and she knew He was the Messiah. Despite her disadvantages, she thought if she could get to Jesus that He would help her.
The mother knew her false gods couldn’t save her daughter and she relentlessly sought after Jesus and presented her request before Him. When Jesus did not answer her, the mother did not give up. The discouragement didn’t stop her from seeking Jesus. She continued to worship and pray earnestly. In fact, her persistence was so great that even the disciples took her cries of faith as an annoyance and wanted her sent away. It must have been painful for the mother to hear the disciples wanting to get rid of her.
Though Jesus didn’t answer right away, she continued to appeal to Him. She addressed Jesus saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David;” (vs.22). Jesus explained to her that He was sent only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The mother knew Jesus was the Messiah and He’s promised to the Jews and though she had no claim over the Lord, Jesus, she kept her petitions going. Then Jesus replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
How would you react to such a response? It would have been easy for her to turn away in anger or sorrow. Jesus could see in this woman that there was a determined faith that would rise to this occasion. He was drawing her closer. How does the mother react? She demonstrated genuine humility and replied, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”(vs.27)
Jesus knew the mother would press on. Jesus was giving us a model for how to pray effectively. Jesus heard what He wanted to hear and made an amazing statement “let it be to you as you desire”.
The mother had such faith. She said, Lord, my daughter has a problem and I will not go away until it gets resolved. That is the kind of persistence we need as well – keep knocking, keep seeking, keep asking! He commands us to press on! We pray about something once or twice and then we give up. But we must keep praying. Don’t give up! Keep praying!
We are urged to pray and when we don’t have the desire in us, God will sharpen it by testing and by discipline and crisis. God will have His people be the people of prayer. We live in a time when we expect results immediately. Our desires and needs are satisfied instantly. We become impatient when that doesn’t happen.
The goal of prayer is not to move God my way, but to move me His way. 1 John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Are you ready to rise to a challenge? What are you praying for right now? Are you praying for the salvation of a child, spouse or friend? Are there problems you want resolved? Keep praying and don’t give up!
Inspired by God, written by KG