February 1: A Great Faith (Matthew 15:21-28)
Adult Education: This Sunday at 9:00am, Nik Lingle will begin a series on Peacemaking in the youth room, and Ray Rutledge will continue The Gospel Project in Adult 1.
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.(ESV)
Having ended another dialogue with the scribes and Pharisees regarding the dangers of mere external religion, Jesus intentionally withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon where he and the disciples encounter a unique, resolute, Canaanite woman seeking mercy for her distressed daughter. The brief yet loaded exchange between Jesus and this woman teaches us much about the type of faith that invites Jesus’ commendation. While her external pedigree would make her an unlikely candidate in the eyes of the religious, Christ was moved by her internal faith and granted her earnest desire.
Review and Apply
- What descriptors throughout the story indicate the level of earnestness in the woman’s requests?
- List the obstacles that the woman had to face in this story?
- While not taking “no” for an answer and in fact “arguing” with Jesus throughout this story, what indicates her proper approach to the Savior?
- What about her faith drew high praise from Jesus? In what current situation(s) might you reflect this same type of faith?
- In the last couple of chapters, Matthew has recorded several very short but effective prayers. Describe how these examples might encourage you as you approach God this week.
- What in this story stirs your affections for Jesus?
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